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Full text of "Clare Abbey, or, The trials of youth"

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University of Illinois Library 




L161 — H41 



CLARE ABBEY; 



TRIALS OF YOUTH. 



BY THE AUTHOR OF 
THE DISCIPLINE OF LIFE," ETC. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



LONDON: 
COLBURX AND CO., PUBLISHERS, 

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 
1851. 



LONDON : 

1 RINTED BY V. M. TYLER, BOLX-tOURT. 



2^3 

CLARE ABBEY; 

OR, 

THE TRIALS OF YOUTH. 



CHAPTER I. 

He had (if 'twere not nature's boon), an art 

Of fixing memory in another's heart. 

Lara. 

How each at home o'errates his misery, 
And thinks that all are musical abroad, 

Unfetter' d as the winds, while only he 
Of all the glad and licenced world is awed. 

GONDIBERT. 

The new year dammed, and in Camilla's 
opinion began well, for it brought a little 
novelty with it. 

One morning Reginald entered the draw- 
ing-room earlier than was usual to him, and 
asked Camilla to walk with him. 

" I want to go as high as the white stone 
on that hill," he said, pointing through one 
of the vistas to a sloping hill that sloped 
almost into the park, " Do you think you 
can walk as far ? " 

VOL. II, B 



2 CLARE ABBEY. 

"Can I ! my dear Reginald," she ex- 
claimed, laughing, but a little offended ; 
" I am not quite a cripple yet." 

" Miss Vincent said yesterday," he ob- 
served, with a smile and a slight tone of 
sarcasm in his voice, " that she was so very 
easily knocked up ; I thought, perhaps, she 
had taught you to be the same." 

" I don't ask Miss Vincent to teach me 
anything," she replied, petulantly. Then as 
if for some reason afraid of the subject, sue 
hurried on ; "I should like to walk with you 
very much, but what do you wish to see on 
the hill?" 

" It is rather strange that we should have 
lived here all our lives, ^dthout ever having 
the curiosity to ask the meaning of that 
white stone. I was told by a traveller the 
other day, that it is not a stone, but a circle 
of stones, and that they are generally sup- 
posed to be Druids' stones." 

" That is what I always say," Camilla 
said, laughing ; " it is impossible to feel any 
great curiosity about a thing one sees every 
day. But now you have stkred me up ; I 



CLARE ABBEY. 6 

should like extremely to see some Druids' 
stones. I shall be ready in half a second — " 
and as, with her many faults, she was not a 
dawdle, it was but a few seconds before she 
appeared. 

They set off in silence. Camilla was ex- 
pecting an attack on Miss Vincent, and was 
preparing herself to defend her. She had felt 
much anxiety respecting Reginald's opinion 
of her new friend, for, though her feeling for 
her did not amount to affection, her society 
had become indispensable. Miss Vincent 
had spent some hours with her on the pre\dous 
day, and Reginald had met her at luncheon ; 
but as yet he had made no comment. She 
had not appeared to advantage ; seeing with 
quickness the peculiarities of Reginald's 
character, and anxious to please, she had 
endeavoured to adapt herself to his taste ; 
but she had overdone it ; and though per- 
fectly able to talk to a sensible man, had 
she allowed herself to talk naturally, she 
had, by affecting sentiments not her own, 
and propounding questions she did not un- 
derstand, in plain words, made a fool of 
B 2 



4 CLARE ABBEY. 

herself. Camilla had been aware of it, and 
had felt uneasy ; but, from Reginald's silence, 
had supposed and hoped that the weaknesses 
of her friend had escaped his observation. 
His remark this morning had proved it to 
be otherwise, and she set off expecting to 
be attacked, and prepared for resistance. 

" You do not ask me, Camilla, what I 
think of your Arabella," Reginald said, lay- 
ing his hand smilingly on her arm, after 
they had proceeded some distance in silence. 

" j\liss Vincent's name is not Arabella," 
she replied, shortly. 

" I thought all young ladies' confidants 
were called Arabella or Aramintha. What 
is her name?" 

" A very simple name and rather a 
pretty one, — Sophia." 

" It should not be Sophia," Reginald said, 
shaking his head. 

" my ? I rather hke Sophia." 

" Sophia means wisdom ; and it is not 
appropriate to ]\liss Vincent." 

" If Sophia does mean wisdom, it is very 
appropriate, Reginald. Miss Vincent is ex- 



CLARE ABBEY. 5 

tremely clever, and .... I hate the word 
accomphshed ; but she knows ahnost every- 
thing in the world. I mean, she knows 
sometliing about everything ; it is impos- 
sible to puzzle her." 

" She may be clever and accomphshed ; 
I don't know about that : but she is not 
wise." 

" She is quite wise enough for me," Ca- 
milla said, petulantly ; " I don't like too 
much wisdom. Really, Reginald, if you 
had the ordering of the world, we should 
all be moped to death. We are pretty 
nearly moped to death as it is." 

" AMiat does Ernest De Grey think of 
Miss Vincent ? " he inquired, after a mo- 
ment's pause. 

" I don't the least mind what Mr. De 
Grey thinks," she cried with increasing irri- 
tation. '' I am sure I do not call him so 
ver}^ clever." 

"I don't know whether he is clever or 
not," Reginald said, musingly ; '' but he has 
one of those clear judgments which see 
more plainly than talent sees. I would take 



b CLARE ABBEY» 

his opinion of persons and things far before 
the opinion of many cleverer people." 

" Then poor JMiss Vincent is doubly con- 
demned," Camilla said, laughing; for her 
ill-humour was never of long duration. " I 
asked him one day how he Hked her ; and 
he said, pretty shortly and pretty uncivilly, 
I thought, considering that she is my friend, 
* Not at all ! ' But, Reginald," she con- 
tinued resolutely, "I don't mean Mr. De 
Grey's opinion to influence me in the least ; 
nor even yours, though I wish you liked her, 
I like ffiss Vincent, and I like her to come 
and see me ; and I can't give her up." 

" I am sorry you like her, Camilla ; I 
wish you had never made such a friend. I 
don't think she is a good one." 

" Whjj what harm has she done me? — can 
you say that she has done me any harm ? '* 

" A httle, perhaps. I don't want to find 
fault; I dare say she has not done much. 
But, Camilla, you have disappointed me. 
Don't think me unkind," he continued affec- 
tionately, "but I had thought that your 
taste was too true and too pure to be taken 



CLARE ABBEY. 7 

by anything so worldly and so frivolous as 
Miss Vincent is. I don't wish you to neg- 
lect her, as an acquaintance ; living, as she 
does, within your reach, it is perhaps right 
that you should receive and visit her ; but, 
Camilla, you make a friend of her ; you let 
her guide you and direct you ; and yesterda}' 
— I did not wish to listen, but the words 
fell upon my ear — I heard her jest with 
you about Ernest De Grey ; and I don't 
know that you encouraged her, but you 
allowed it." 

" My dear Reginald ! " she cried, blushing 
scarlet, and her eyes filling with tears, " I 
think you are rather severe with me. Miss 
Vincent says many things I don't like, 
and does many things I don't like, and if 
I could choose she is not the friend I would 
choose to have ; but can I choose ? My 
dear Reginald ! I am not like you : I can't 
go about the world and find friends as I 
please ; I must take what comes, or have 
none at all. Indeed, indeed, you don't 
know what a dull dreary life I lead when 
you are away, or you would pity me, and 



5 CLARE ABBEY. 

be glad that I should have even Miss Yin- 
cent to interest me." 

" I am perhaps severe," he said peni- 
tently, touched by the very unwonted sight 
of her tears. " Forgive me, Camilla, I did 
not mean to be so. My only wish is to see 
you bright, clear, and true, as you have 
always been in spite of your faults. K you 
feel that IMiss Vincent does you no harm, — 
if she does not taint your mind and fill you 
-^dth foolish fancies, I will say no more . . . 
But do not let her spoil you, Camilla." 

'-' If ^liss Vincent can spoil me,'' she 
replied smiling, '' I am afraid I must be so 
wortldess that there is no use in saving me. 
I don't care enough about her to be spoiled 
by an}'thing she can say or do. I just like 
her, — that is all, — and she amuses me when 
I am dull. But, if it pleases you to hear 
it, I don't really hke her half-a-quarter a^j 
much as t/ouj' friend, ]Mr. De Grey." 

Reginald looked at her with interest and 
curiosity, a^ he often did when she spoke 
of Ernest De Grey ; and '' I wish," just 
passed his hps, and was withdrawn again. 



CLARE ABBEY. V 

" Wliat do you wish ? " Camilla said, look- 
ing up with a slight l3lush : but at the 
moment they were beginning to ascend the 
steep part of the hill, and Camilla stumbled 
and was raised again by Reginald, and 
stumbled again and tore her gown, and the 
question was forgotten. 

" There are the stones, Reginald," she 
exclaimed, as they reached the top of a 
steep, stony bank ; " and I think they really 
must be famous, for there is a stranger look- 
ing at them, — contemplating them I ought 
to say, for he looks very thoughtful." 

It was a young man seated on one of the 
stones, with his arms crossed and his eyes 
bent downward. 

A few steps brought them closer to the 
stones and to him, and the sound of their 
footsteps, not of their voices, for they were 
silent, caused him to raise his eyes. 

There was an immediate exclamation of 
" St Maur ! " and the young man came for- 
ward to Reginald and held out his hand. 

Camilla watched the meeting with cu- 
riosity, and was both surprised and sorry 



10 CLAEE ABBEY. 

to see the hauteur and coldness which Re- 
ginald's manner immediately assumed. She 
knew that she was more easily pleased than 
her brother, but it appeared to her that in 
this case he too might have been gracious. 
The young man was certainly both striking 
and pleasing-looking — very tall, and very 
dark, and very handsome so far as figure and 
feature went — and possessing one of those 
intelhgently-serious countenances which even 
when serious disclose liveliness and anima- 
tion beneath. An experienced observer 
might have discovered on his brow, and in 
his eye, a certain restlessness of expression, 
which troubled and clouded them ; but this 
would scarcely have attracted the first glance 
even of the experienced, and Camilla would 
not have been singular in her hastily- formed 
opinion, that he looked much too clever and 
remarkable to be a common person. 

Her favourable opinion was so strong that 
when after a few constrained questions and 
answers Reginald, still with hauteur in his 
manner, named her as his sister, she blushed 
and cast down her eyes beneath the quick 



CLARE ABBEY. 11 

scrutinizing gaze, that seemed to search her 
through and throucjh. 

A strong desire to please is rarely felt 
where there is consciousness of superiority ; 
and Camilla, in her small intercourse with 
the world, had liitherto felt too conscious 
of giving pleasure to be troubled with any 
uneasy doubts on the subject. Some doubts, 
however, now she felt, and, therefore, some 
desire to please ; and it was Avith a feeling 
of gratification that she marked the change 
from the constrained voice in which Regi- 
nald was addressed, to the anxious, ani- 
mated, though respectful tone which greeted 
her. She felt that she pleased, and was at 
her ease again. 

" Are you sta\dncr in this neicrhbour- 
hood?" Reginald asked, after a few mo- 
ments of silence. 

"Not sta}dng — only travelling. I slept 
at Alverstoke last night, which I suppose is 
five or six miles from here ; and as I make 
a point of seeing everything within reach, 
I came this morning to examine these 
stones ; and this afternoon," he stopped and 



12 CLARE ABBEY. 

sniiled, " I hope to catch a view of Clare 
Abbey." 

Camilla looked at Reginald ; and after a 
slight hesitation, he said, "We are going 
home immediately ; if you have time to 
spare, I am sm'e my mother will be happy 
to see you at luncheon." 

" I wall not refuse your invitation," the 
young man replied, "because I have heard 
much of the beauties of the place ; but I 
hope you do not suppose I was hinting for 
an invitation." 

As Reginald made no reply, Camilla said, 
" Oh no ; we shall be very happy if you will 
come." 

He bowed and smiled, but quietly, and 
not as if he felt any peculiar degree of gra- 
titude. 

" Shall we go, Camilla?" asked her bro- 
ther ; and turning away, he held out his arm 
1x3 her, as it seemed unconsciously, and as 
if from a desire to protect her. 

She took it, but with a smile and a slight 
shake of her head, and her soliloquy was, 
" Poor Reginald ! he takes too great care of 



CLARE ABBEY. 13 

me. I really believe he would like to shut 
me up in a cage." 

" After all," she cried, suddenly stopping 
as they moved away, "we have hardly 
looked at these stones, and they are very 
curious. Do wait a moment, Reginald. I 
wish I could fancy an old Druid standing by 
that large broken bit of rock. 

Mr. Hargrave (for such was his name) 
smiled, and shook his head. 

''Why do you shake your head?" she 
asked. 

" Because I think it requires a very great 
stretch of imagination to believe that these 
really are Druid's stones. I came to see 
them, because I was told the tradition. But 
my belief is, that they are merely . . . ." 

"Oh! don't say anything disagreeable," 
Camilla said, interrupting him. "1 like to 
think they are Druid's stones ; and it is so 
wild about here, I am sure they are quite in 
character." 

" But do you like them to be called so, 
if the chances are ten to one that they are 
not so?" 



14 CLARE ABBEY. 

" Yes, I do indeed. I don't like people 
to be so clever that tliey can believe no- 
thing ; and that is what we are coming to, 
I think. One can hardly open a book with- 
out having some of one's favourite stories 
proved to be false. But I won't be con- 
vinced. I can't bear these new discoveries." 

" Then, I am sure," said Mr. Hargrave, 
bending upon her his piercing eyes, with a 
smile and an admiring gaze, " if anything I 
can say can add to the fame of these stones 
as old Druid's stones, it shall be said." 

" But you do not believe that they are so 
yourself?" 

" Oh yes," he said, smiling again. "Upon 
second thoughts, I think my explanation of 
their appearance was a foolish one. They 
must be Druid's stones." 

" Shall we go, Camilla?" Reginald asked 
again : " it is getting late." 

It was with a feeling almost of annoyance 
that he remarked how very lovely his sister 
was looking, her cheeks glowing, and her 
eyes sparkling with exercise and animation. 

The descent was steep, stony, and slip- 



CLAKE ABBEY. 15 

peiy, and little conversation took place ; but 
when they entered the gates of Clare Abbey, 
wliich stood at the very foot of the hill, 
Reginald's natural courteousness returned to 
him ; and though, perhaps unconsciously, re- 
taining his hold of Camilla, he began to 
converse with less of stiffiiess, and more of 
friendliness. 

" You are making a tour, then, of these 
counties?" he said, after some remark of 
Mr. Hargrave's. 

" Yes — on foot. It is a mode of travel- 
ling that I particularly like." 

" And alone ? " Reginald inquired. 

" Quite alone. I have not spoken to a 
friend or foe for a fortnight. You seem to 
be surprised." 

" I was surprised, I own." 

"And why?" 

" I can hardly tell. It was my impression, 
I suppose, that you disliked solitude." 

" It was an unjust impression. I am fond 
of society, I know ; but those who suppose 
I cannot be alone are as unjust as those 
who, because I am sometimes idle, suppose 



16 CLARE ABBEY. 

I cannot be industrious." He spoke with a 
slight degree of pique or resentment. 

" I beg your pardon," Reginald said, with 
his grave courtesy. '' I know I am not fa- 
mous for judging correctly of the characters 
of others." 

" Pray, don't beg my pardon," his com- 
panion said, recovering himself. " If people 
will be inconsistent, they must, I suppose, 
expect to be misjudged. But I confess I 
am sometimes provoked by the judgments of 
the world — I don't mean in my own case 
only : it is the same with everybody. A 
particular point in a man's character is 
chosen, and from that a theory is formed, a 
plan laid out, cut and dried ; and if any ven- 
ture to transgress the limits of this plan, the 
victim is supposed to be taking leave of his 
senses. "Whereas, in fact, every man is made 
up of a variety of characters ; and those who 
are accused of inconsistency are only fol- 
lowing one strong tendency for a time, to 
the neglect of another, which perhaps has 
had its turn. We could all make twenty 
theoretic men." 



CLARE ABBEY. 17 

" I think you are partly right," Reginald 
said, thoughtfully. " I believe I am apt to 
look for too great consistency.'* 

" You have a right to do it," his com- 
panion said, looking at him with a slight 
smile ; " but few have the right. I am sure 
I have not." 

" Are you so veri/ inconsistent?" Camilla 
inquired, bending forward from the oppo- 
site side of her brother, 

" J don't call it inconsistent," he replied, 
smiling ; " I don't like to be called so. 
Sometimes one thing pleases me, and some- 
times another, each in their turn ; but that 
is my nature — there is no inconsistency 
in it." 

" And solitude pleases you at this mo- 
ment?" 

" Yes ; it has pleased me for a fortnight, 
and I think it will please me for a fortnight 
longer. I began my travels in a very mis- 
antliropical mood, disgusted with the world 
and everybody in the world. I am better 
now, and by the end of the month I expect 
to be quite well. But theu," he added, 

VOL. II. c 



18 CLAEE ABBEY. 

laughing, "it will be only to begin over 
again — first the disgust, and then the cure." 

"You do not go back to Oxford, I be- 
lieve ?" Reginald inquired. 

" No, I am glad and sorry to say so. I 
have had enough of it, and yet I regret it 
too." 

" Are you only just leaving Oxford and 
already disgusted with the world?" Camilla 
said, leaning forward again; "I am sure I 
need not wish so much to see the world, if 
it pleases for such a very short time." 

" What do you wish to see in the world?" 
he asked, and asked with another of those 
keen glances. 

" I don't know the least," she replied, 
laughing, "a great deal new, and a great 
deal beautiful, and all exciting ; but I think 
of it so vagniely, that I beheve my fancies 
are more like fairy tales than reality. I 
don't expect to see the Queen sitting all day 
with her crown on her head, but a vear or 
two ago I tliink I did." 

"Then pray let nothing I have said de- 
stroy your hopes of happiness in the world. 



CLARE ABBEY. 19 

It does weary some people, but I don't 
think it will weary you ; — it all depends on 
the feelings we take with us. Besides, even 
for me, though it occasionally may disgust, 
does not solitude do the same ? " 

" That it certainly does," Camilla said 
warmly, " that is, I think it does when it is 
forced upon one, and when one feels shut 
up in a cage ; but I don't think I should 
dislike it ; I think I should rather like it 
if I were a man." 

"All! Camilla," Reginald said with a slight 
smile, " you always lay your feelings to the 
charge of your position, not to yourself." 

" Because, my dear Reginald, it is so. If 
I could go where I pleased, and see the 
beautiful scener}^, and wonderful things, 
and great people I wish to see, I should be 
quite satisfied. I never should wish, I don't 
even ^vish as I now am, to live in a crowd. 
I don't like common tiresome people, and 
there must be a great many tiresome people 
in a crowd." 

" There you are quite right," remarked 
Mr. Hargrave, " a crowd is the bane of 
c 2 



20 CLAEE ABBEY. 

existence. One sees nothing, and one is 
nothing in a crowd. But then a crowd is 
not society. Do you remember what Byron 
calls it?" 

" No, I am only rather, not veri/, fond of 
Lord Byron." 

" Solitude ;" and he repeated carelessly, 
yet with a peculiar beauty of recitation, 
some of the well-known lines. 

" I think he spoke correctly," Reginald 
said, musingly ; " I have often felt the same." 

As they entered the garden, Reginald 
left his sister and hastened on to the house. 
He knew that his request for leave to bring 
Mr. Hargrave to luncheon would be granted 
without hesitation, but he would not ask 
him even to set foot in the house, till that 
permission was given. In some shght con- 
trast to his opinions, his tone of mind was 
old-fashioned, and any degree of freedom or 
familiarity with his parents was revolting to 
him. Such deference may perhaps, like 
other virtues, have an excess, but it may be 
practised long before that excess is found. 

Camilla guessed his object in leaving her, 



CLARE ABBEY. 21 

and stood on the broad gravel walk at a little 
distance from the house, awaiting his return. 

She had been talking easily till now — but 
on finding herself alone with ]\Ir. Hargrave, 
the sensation of diffidence stole again over 
her mind. They stood in silence. She 
felt rather than saw that he was lookins: at 
iier, and she was uneasy beneath his scru- 
tiny. She wished he would speak, she 
wished to speak herself, but no subject 
would come at her call. 

At length growing impatient, she glanced 
around her, and said, " Do you think it 
pretty?" 

Few things could have been more simple 
or common-place ; but she looked up blush- 
ing and shyly as she broke the silence. 

" Very pretty, indeed — and I never saw 
anything like it before, which in my opinion 
is great praise." 

He said no more ; and Camilla, easy as it 
might have seemed, finding herself unable 
to raise a fresh subject, was silent also. 
Another pause followed, and to her it was 
a very awkward one. 



22 CLAKE ABBEY. 

Her companion broke it at last : " What 
do you say to those stiff pine-trees?" he 
asked, pointing to the tall firs which stood 
on the verge of the terrace. " In my misan- 
thropical moods they would suit me well ; for 
they would hide the world from my view : 
but in my other moods, — better or worse, 
I don't know which to call them, — I am 
afraid I should look upon them as enemies. 
Do you ever feel a wish to cut them down?" 

" Yes," Camilla said, laughing, " very 
often, but for no good reason ; only because 
I always wish to make a change." 

" I think," he continued, " I should look 
upon them as stiff stern sentinels, placed by 
stiff stern guardians, to guard, like the 
cherubims with flaming swords, the world 
from my view ; and the sense of restraint 
would make me rebel and wish to escape 
from their control." 

" You have made an allegorv^ of them," 
Camilla rephed ; "but I don't much like it. 
It Tvdll make me melancholy to look at them 
now." 

" Shall I make another allegory, then?'* he 



CLAEE ABBEY. 23 

said, smiling. " They are not stiff, stern sen- 
tinels guarding tlie world from your view, 
but they are watchful friends, pointing to 
the world beyond ; and in the glimpses they 
give in the present, foretelling how bright 
the future will be. See," he added, after a 
moment, suddenly, " see how the bright sun- 
shine is creeping over that distant mountain ! " 

" But it is very distant," Camilla said 
laughing, and blushing she hardly knew why. 

" Not so very distant ; at some time or 
other the great world comes near to us all, 
and as we are, so our world will be. Yours, 
I should think, ^\dll be as bright as that 
sunny mountain." 

" I hope it -will ; but I really don't know 
what I am talking of. It is very unlikely 
that the great world, as you call it, should 
ever come near me." 

"Not uj;terly impossible, I hope,*' he 
said, bending his gaze ^vith an earnest ex- 
pression upon her as he spoke. " On that 
great world I should very much like to meet 
you again." 

She cast down her eyes, blushed deeply, 



24 CLARE ABBEY. 

even trembled, and made no further attempt 
to cdjcry on the conversation. They stood for 
a few minutes more in silence, then slowly 
walked on till Reginald appeared from the 
house. His father had simply nodded his 
head in acquiescence to his request, but 
his mother had detained him with some 
questions as to the propriety of improving 
her dress for her guest, and he had been 
absent more than ten minutes. To his 
anxious mind they seemed more like hours 
than minutes ; and he glanced uneasily at 
his sister and her companion as they silently 
approached, but, apparently, his scrutiny 
satisfied him, for his manner increased in 
coiortesy as he invited ^Ir. Hargrave to enter 
the house. 



Mr. and Mrs. Hervey and Ernest De Grey 
dined at Clare Abbey on the same evening. 
There were no other guest>s. !Mr. HargTave 
had remained for one hour only. Neither 
Lord nor Lady Yere would have dreamed 
of inviting him to stay at the Abbey, and 



CLARE ABBEY. 25 

Reginald, satisfied with the civihty he had 
been enabled to show, made no further re- 
quest, nor in fact desired to do so. If 
Camilla's feelings were different, she said 
nothing. If Avith something of anxiety and 
hope she watched her brother w^hen the time 
of departure came, she made no request or 
comment. The new acquaintances parted 
like chance acquaintances, and his name 
was scarcely mentioned again. 

" Wlio was your friend, Reginald ?" Lady 
Vere did exert herself to say, as she sat 
in the dra^ving-room before dinner, awaiting 
her guests ; and Reginald's answer was, 

"Frank Hargrave his name is, mother. 
I knew him at Oxford; but he is no friend 
of mine." 

" I thought he was your friend, as you 
brought him home. Do you like my new 
silk, Camilla?" And Camilla's opened eager 
eyes, closed with disappointment at this 
conclusion to the conversation. 

The dinner was more than commonly stiff 
and silent; for Lord Vere, in addition to 
his usual mental ailments, had for the first 



26 CLARE ABBEY. 

time a slight attack of gout, and his annoy- 
ance under the infliction was seen and felt, 
though not expressed. 

At the conclusion of dinner he declared 
his intention of returning to his own room. 
Unaccustomed to assistance, and disdaining 
it, he rose from his seat without support; 
but, unaccustomed also to pain, he winced 
as he stood upright. Reginald, ever watch- 
ful, was by his side in an instant, and held 
out his arm. Lord Vere looked doubtful, 
and drew himself stiffly up ; but apparently 
Reginald's countenance, raised to his own, 
conquered him ; for, turning with a cold and 
silent bow to Ernest and Mr. Hervey, he 
accepted his son's proffered assistance, and 
they left the room together. 

Ernest and Mr. Hervey proceeded to the 
drawing-room. Lady Vere, seated on the 
sofa, was smiling placidly as usual beneath 
Mrs, Hervey's tales. Camilla also was in 
her usual place, at a little distance from the 
sofa, before a table littered with books ; but 
not as usual was her countenance or her 
smile. If occasionally, in her long and 



CLARE ABBEY. 27 

lonely days, gloom and ill-humour stole over 
her brow, it was but rarely so — ^never when 
Reginald was at home — never on occasions 
such as the present — never for many mi- 
nutes in duration ; but this night she was 
unlike herself: it was evidently no common 
disturbance that clouded her eyes, and hung 
round her sweet smiling lips. 

Ernest had watched her during dinner 
with intense interest, and it was with in- 
tense interest that he approached her now. 

"Is anything the matter this evening?" 
he said, standing by the table, and bending 
towards her. " I am sure there is. I am 
afraid you are not well." 

" Not well ? " she said, laughing. " "VMiat 
can make you so fanciful? I don't know 
what it is to be ill." 

" I can't help being fanciful : you don't 
look the least like yourself tliis evening. I 
am sure something is the matter. If you 
are not ill, I am afraid you have been 
worried or annoyed, and I am very sorry 
to think so." 

He spoke very kindly and very anxiously, 



28 CLAKE ABBEY. 

but with an endeavour to restrain the ex 
treme curiosity and anxiety he really felt. 

The disturbance of Camilla's mind was 
still more evident in her manner than in 
her countenance; for to his anxious inqui- 
ries she replied petulantly, and even con- 
temptuously, 

" I believe, Mr. De Grey, you are one of 
those who wish people to be always alike, 
always pleased and cheerful ; but I don't 
wish it myself I like variety. How is it 
possible for any one to be always the 
same?" 

It was a faint echo from the morning's 
conversation ; for her mind was at this time 
in that soft and malleable state, that every- 
thing as it passed over her left its impres- 
sion behind. 

" I am afraid you will think me very tame 
and insipid if I say so," Ernest replied, a 
little gTavely, — for he was both puzzled by 
and hurt at her manner ; " but I do like 
people to be always the same. I don't mean 
stupidly and unmeaningly so ; but I don't 
like clouds, and storms, and disturbances in 



CLARE ABBEY. 29 

the air. If they are sent, we must submit 
tx) them; but when they are of our own 
causing, I don't like them. If I could, I 
would always see sunshine." 

" So would I," she said, looking up sud- 
denly ; " if I could, I would always have 
sunshine ; but when the sunshine is absent," 
and she smiled and shook her head, " what 
can there be but clouds ? " 

"Did you find the sun hot to-day?" in- 
quired !Mr. Hervey. "Your brother was 
telhng me that you walked for a consider- 
able distance." 

Camilla looked at Ernest with an amused 
smile before she replied, and reassured by 
the confidence of her expression, and feeling 
that whatever might be the cause of her 
disturbance, she was not offended with him^ 
he drew a chair to the table, and sat down 
beside her. 

^Ir. Hervey placed himself between the 
two detachments, in the position most cal- 
culated to obtain the greatest quantity of 
information, but a little nearer to Camilla 
than to Lady Vere ; since it might be ima- 



30 CLARE ABBEY. 

gined that in her conversation there would 
probably be more of novelty than could be 
collected from the narrations of his mother. 

"What a beautiful book!" Ernest ex- 
claimed, taking one from the table. " It is 
a new one, is it not ?" 

"Reginald gave it to me on New Year's 
Day." 

" Do you approve of the practice of New 
Year's gifts, Miss St. Maur?" inquired Mr. 
Hervey. 

"Oh yes, of course I do, and of Christmas- 
boxes, and birth-day presents besides." 
" And wedding gifts, I conclude ? " 
" Oh yes,'' she replied, smihng, " wedding 
gifts too, when they are necessary." 

" Here are some verses," Ernest said, 
looking up from the book he had been ex- 
amining (a collection of poems from various 
authors, illustrated with designs of unusual 
beauty). " Here are some verses rather 
strangely appropriate to what we were talk- 
ing of just now. They are called 'The 
Gladness of Life.' Have you read them ? " 
" No," Camilla said, glancing at the book ; 



CLAKE ABBEY. 31 

" at least I don't remember them. Will you 
read tliem to me? — not that I shall agree 
with them, I am sure." 

" Shall I read them ? " and Ernest glanced 
at Lady Vere. 

" Oh, yes ! mamma will like it. Mamma, 
you would like Mr. De Grey to read some 
verses, should n't you? " 

" It will give me great pleasiu"e," she 
replied, with a polite bow to Ernest. 

He read, and read well, the following 
verses. Every verse was illustrated by a 
quaint and appropriate design, placed side 
by side with the verse on the page : 

THE GLADNESS OF LIFE. 

So variously are all things wrought, 
I marvell'd how the mind was brought 
To anchor by one gloomy thought. 

Tennyson. 

Happy the young who haste away 

Ere life her page unfold, 
Ere they have bow'd with Passion's sway, 
Or shrank from Sorrow's cold. 

And happy those who linger yet 

The steep ascent to climb ; 
For treasures lie like jewels set 

Upon the breast of Time. 



:62 CLARE ABBEY. 

Happy the glad, for theirs is Love, 
And theirs are light- wing' d hours ; 

And pure the heart that springs above 
From earth's unfolding flowers. 

And happy those to whom forlorn 

A drearier lot is given : 
For Crowns of Thorns in patience worn, 

Are Crowns of Light in heaven. 

Happy the pure, whose footsteps tread, 

Unharm'd, temptation's strife ; 
The dews of heaven rest on their head, 

And bless their angel life. 

And happy those who turn again, 
Their long, long wanderings past ; 

For though the way be full of pam, 
Pardon is won at last. 

Happy the rich — for to their hands 

A gracious power is lent, 
To fall, as rain bedews the lands, 

Where'er their steps are bent. 

And happy even those who need, — 

The toiling and the poor ; — 
For such a path as now they tread, 

Their Master trod before. 

Wherever we turn, may joy be found. 

Will we but seek it deep ; 
Though frost lies cold upon the ground. 

Beneath the flower roots sleep. 

" What a quantity of verses all about the 
same thing," exclaimed Lady Vere, when 
Ernest's melodious voice ceased to read. 



CLARE ABBEY. 33 

"But they mean different things," said 
Mrs. Hervey, sagely. 

"Who is the author of the poem?" in- 
quired Mr. Hervey ; " I think I have heard 
somethingr like it before." 

" The author," Ernest said, glancing at 
the index with a smile, "is that person 
whom I used to suppose was known by the 
name of Mr. Anon." 

" Anommious, I conclude ? " inquiringly. 

" Of course, Mr. Hervey," Camilla cried ; 
" what else could Mr. De Grey mean? " 

" Oh ! I supposed him to mean anony- 
mous." 

" But do you like the verses, jVIr. De 
Grey?" Camilla said, the cloud stealing 
over her brow agam. " I don't hke them 
at all." 

"Yes I like them," he said, thoughtfully, 
andwatcliing her mth interest, "because I 
think it is what we ought to feel. It is 
an idea that has haunted me all my life 
long ; and I am sure the better we become, 
the more we should feel it and like it." 

" Then I must be very bad," she said, 

VOL. II. D 



34 CLAKE ABBEY. 

petulantly, " for I don't like it at all. 1 
don't understand even what it means," she 
continued, sadly. "How can it ever be 
equally happy to us to have our wishes or to 
be miserable ? " 

" It is difficult to understand. Pray don't 
think that I understand it, for I don't. I 
only say I hke the idea, and I tliink we 
should understand and feel it, and .... I 
wish I could." 

"I wonder what Reginald would say," she 
said, as her brother entered the room ; " it 
is just the kind of sad idea he likes. Re- 
ginald," she called, "we w^ant you to read 
some verses out of that pretty book you 
gave me ; and we want you to explain them 
to us, for we can none of us understand what 
they mean." 

" I beg your pardon, Miss St. Maur," Mr. 
Hervey said, a httle offended, " I tliought 
the verses were perfectly clear. They 
meant to express, as Shakspere says, that 
there is good in everything." 

" Oh yes ! ]\Ir. Hervey, we know that," 
she said, impatiently; "we did not mean 



CLAEE ABBEY. 35 

that kind of understanding. But we want 
to know whether you like them, Reginald, 
and whether you ever could feel that they 
speak the truth?'' 

He read them attentively, then shook his 
head. " Xo, Camilla," he said, " I feel like 
you, I don't understand them ; and, more 
than this, I don't think I wish to understand 
them. The idea does not please me. I 
like that verse," pointing to the second, 
" but not the others. Listen to these lines," 
he said, turning over two or three pages ; 
" I like these better ; they express more my 
feeling of hfe." And, T\dth a rising colour, 
he read the following lines from a poem on 
"Duty:" 

Oft where she leads thy blood must mark thy footsteps ; 
Oft where she leads, thy head must bear the storm, 
And thy shrunk form endure heat, cold, and hunger ; 
But she will guide thee up to noble heights, 
Which he who gains, seems native of the sky, 
"VMiile earthly things lie stretch' d beneath his feet. 
Diminish' d, shrunk, and valueless. 

"Xo, Reginald, no," Camilla said, shaking 
her head sadly ; " that does not please me 
either. I like it better than iVIr. De Grey's 
D 2 



36 CLARE ABBEY. 

poem, because it gives pain its proper name, 
but still it speaks as if pain were pleasing. 
Give me tlie book, and let me see if I can 
find something I like. Will you read tliis, 
Mr. De Grey, — ' The Sadness of Life ? ' 
Perhaps that will express what I feel." She 
placed the book before Ernest, and he read 



acram 



THE SADNESS OF LIFE. 

For violets pluck' d, the sweetest showers 
Can ne'er make grow again. 

Old Ballad. 

The new-born day is fresh and fair, 
The balmy breezes fan the air, 
The flowers look up, the sun to greet ; 
The sky smiles down, their love to meet. 
All, all is bright — yet still we say, 
Where is the bloom of yesterday ? 

The rose that decks thy garden bower, 

Although it be a lovely flower, 

Is not the same that blest thine eyes 

When June last spread her laughing skies. 

And ere another sun be set. 

Another parting must be met. 

The latter days of Job were blest, 

Joys fell in showers upon his breast, 

His home to deck, his cares to -vvile, 

Young daughters came with beauty's smile; 

But where were they whose early grace. 

First made his home a pleasant place ? 



CLARE ABBEY. 37 

Oh ! life, this is the saddening thought 
With which thy dearest joys are fraught ; 
Though day by day, new hopes arise, 
The eyes they bless are tearful eyes. 
We own to-morrow may be bright. 
But still 'twill be To-morrow' s light 

He looked at her with an mquiring smile, 
as he ceased, but she drew the book from 
before him, and closed it with some impa- 
tience. 

" You read as if you liked the verses, Mr. 
De Grey. I don't. They might do for a 
very old man. I dare say a hundred years 
to come I shall think of them with pleasure ; 
but if youth is to be as melancholy as that, 
I think we had better not live. I like to 
think of the past, but I don't regret it at all. 
The sadness of Hfe is in the futm^e — to look 
on and on, and see nothing that can give one 
pleasure." A faint colour passed over her 
cheek as she spoke, and she rose suddenly 
from her seat and went to the pianoforte. 

Ernest looked after her wonderingly and 
anxiously, and, rapt in his intense curio- 
sity, Reginald addressed liim t\vice in vain. 



38 CLARE ABBEY. 

On observing this distraction, a slight smile 
passed over the lips of the latter, and imme- 
diately turning away, and bestowing his at- 
tention on ]\Ir. Hervey, he left Ernest to 
himself. 

The next moment Ernest had followed 
Camilla. He placed himself in the window 
near which the pianoforte stood, and intently 
watched her countenance as, languidly and 
uninterestedly, she played a long and difficult 
piece of music, for which her mother had 
asked. The moment it was over, he said, 

"Is it possible that hfe wears such sad 
colours to your eyes? You never used to 
speak as you do to-night." 

" Because I never used to think," she 
replied. 

"And what has made you think now?" 
he asked, with extreme interest. 

His question seemed to make her thought- 
ful : her hand wandered idly over the keys, 
and she did not reply to him. 

He did not dare to repeat his question, 
and they remained silent. 



CLARE ABBEY. 39 

After a few moments slie recovered lier- 
self, and continued the conversation. 

" Don't you think life is full of disap- 
pointment ? It seems to me that very few 
people have what they wish. Do you have 
what you wish ? " 

" Perhaps not," he replied, gravely. Con- 
sciousness of s}Tiipathy with her present ex- 
pression of feelmg kept him for an instant 
silent ; but after a short pause, he continued : 
"But still, though I OAvn it may be so, I 
cannot look on life in such a very sad light. 
If it is full of trial and struggle, is it not 
chiefly our o-vvn faidt, because we set our 
minds on things beyond our reach and be- 
yond our merit? And if disappointment 
comes, is it not almost necessary? If we 
had all our wishes, should we not be selfish, 
earth-bound . . . .?" 

He thought he was answering and con- 
soling her ; but he was in fact preaching to 
himself, and to feelings at the moment too 
powerful \vithin him. 

She interrupted him with tears in her 
eyes, a sight he never had seen before. 



40 CLAKE ABBEY. 

"Oh, Mr. De Grey, don't — ^pray, don't! 
When I am happy, I dare say it is right to 
say such hard things — but not to-night. 
You ought to have told me that some day 
my -gashes will be fulfilled — that some 
day I shall be as happy as I wish to 
be." 

" You will, you surely will," he said, 
earnestly ; the teacher forgotten, his whole 
being ready to go forth to give or promise 
her happiness. 

" It seems as if it must be so," she an- 
swered, musingly. " It seems as if such 
great desires, such a thirst for happiness, 
could not have been planted in us if it were 
not to be fulfilled. It seems as if we should 
not have been allowed to dream such bright 
dreams, unless at some time they were to 
be realized." 

" What are your dreams ? — ^\vhat is it you 
wish ? " There was an agony of interest in 
his countenance and his tone. 

" I wish . . ." She paused, — " I hardly 
know — I cannot say what I do wish ; but I 
know I feel there must be much more in 



CLARE ABBEY. 41 

life tlian I have ever felt, a happiness greater 
than I have ever* dreamed of. And yet it 
seems beyond my reach — it makes me me- 
lancholy to think of it — it makes me sad and 
wretched, instead of happy, as it should do." 
She paused again, then raised her face to 
his: "And, what are your dreams?" she 
inquired ; and this night there was simple 
curiosity in her questions — not a shade of 
that childish and coquettish spmt which 
occasionally had marked them. 

" My dreams would be more easily told 
than yours," he rephed, in a low voice, 
averting his eyes from her lifted face, 
which looked very lovely in its imaginative 
sadness. 

A moment afterwards, as if to resist a 
strong temptation, he moved to the other 
side of the pianoforte, and having examined 
her music, gave her a song with a smile, 
and seated himself at a distance. She 
looked after him as if pondering, — then with 
more than usual feeling, began " The Song 
of the Olden Time." But the song was a 



42 CLARE ABBEY. 

safe one, its tone of pensive memory acting 
as an antidote to the more vivid thoughts 
and hopes that were agitating Ernest's mind, 
and when it was over he had recovered 
himself. 



CLARE ABBET. 43 



CHAPTER II. 

When he speaks 
The air, a charter' d libertine, is still, 
And the mute wonder lurketli in man's ears 
To steal his sweet and honey' d sentences. 

King Henry the Fifth. 

Blessings beforehand — ties of gratefulness, 
The sound of glory ringmg in our ears, 

Without our shame, within our consciences, 
Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears. 

Yet all these fences and their whole array, 

One cunning bosom- sin blows quite away. 

George Herbert. 

What a single word can do. 
Making life seem all untrue. 

Mary Barton. 

The months of the winter and the spring 
passed away, and the beginning of June 
found Camilla on the eve of leaving her 
home for the first time. The depression 
which a complication of feehngs had caused, 
had very swiftly passed away — and her 
thoughts, which for a time had gone forth too 



44 CLARE ABBEY. 

anxiously and vehemently into the future, 
had soon returned- to occupy themselves with 
the present. During these months, Regi- 
nald was continually coming and going ; 
and liis short absences, and constant and 
unexpected returns, together with her con- 
tinued intercourse ^vith Miss Vincent, pre- 
vented her from shiking into weariness. 
Her mind and feelings, which had been in 
a state of progress, appeared to stand still, 
and all things to have returned to the calm 
and equable flow, and childish enjoyments 
of the previous year. 

Reginald meanwhile, having taken leave 
of Oxford, was preparing himself to enter 
upon life. These months were devoted by 
him to intense study — not the study of 
books, but man. He was endeavouring to 
supply by observation, — observation ardent 
and intent, as were all the exercises of his 
intellect, — that lack of experience and 
practical knowledge of which he was con- 
scious. With special ardour and interest, 
he was also devoting himself to the study 
of oratory. He felt stkring within him 



CLAEE ABBEY. 45 

those breathing thoughts which must com- 
municate themselves ; he was conscious of 
possessing the gift of those burning words 
which can communicate them ; but he knew 
himself to be wanting in the knowledge of 
those rules of art and prudence, without 
which the loftiest genius may fail to make 
itself heard. To this knowledge he applied 
himself. Day after day he sat in that 
Assembly of which ere long he hoped to be 
a member, neither nameless nor insignificant ; 
day after day, not only when eloquence 
might be heard, but during the longest and 
dullest debates; watchful, observant, — gather- 
ing alike from failure and from success, the 
wisdom and experience for which he sought. 
There he learned where the flowers of 
rhetoric pall upon the hearers ; there, where 
the multitude of words oppress rather than 
convince, — there he learned the majesty of 
truth, the weight of character, the might of 
temper, the wisdom of forbearance, and how 
these things bear away the palm, from the 
loftiest flights of thought which possess 
them not. Day after day his young and 



46 CLARE ABBEY. 

stately form was observed to enter and take 
his accustomed seat ; hour after hour his 
beautiful countenance, so pure and glowing, 
that it was described as being all spirit, 
to bend forward in absorbed, entranced 
attention, — and many were the eyes that 
watched him, and many the prophecies 
that were made, of the brilliancy of the 
career that lay before him. Many too, in 
his purer and brighter image, recalling a 
long-forgotten name, invaded the seclusion 
of Lord Vere with kindly remembrance, 
and friendly congratulation; and the heart 
of the father began to beat again -wdth some- 
thing of the hope and fire of youth — and an 
ambition, it may be faulty still, yet of a 
purer kind than that which animated his 
early day, began to go forth upon the beaten 
path of the world. No word was said — 
little notice was taken of these invasions of 
his sohtude ; but the gloomy solitude was 
peopled again — the dull uninterested eye 
was raised again — and again with a kindling 
glance he began to survey the distant 
theatre he had forsaken. 



CLARE ABBEY. 47 

It was during one of Reginald's longest 
absences, that an imitation arrived for 
Camilla to spend a fortnight with j\lr. and 
Mrs. Vincent at the seaside. Mrs. Vincent 
wrote kindly and pressingly. Mr. Vincent, 
she said, was out of health, and change of 
air and scene had been ordered; she had 
determined therefore to remove to a beauti- 
ful place, about tliii^ty miles from Clare 
Abbey. She apologized for the little amuse- 
ment or inducement she could offer — the 
time of year precluding the hope of much 
society — but she had so often heard Miss St. 
Maur express a wish to see the sea, that she 
could not let the opportunity pass without 
attempting to persuade her to take advan- 
tage of it. She concluded by assming Lady 
Vere, that as much care should be taken of 
Camilla as if she were her ovm. daughter. 

Nothing could be kmder or more respect- 
ful than the letter — nothing, however, more 
certain than that the invitation ought to 
have been refused. 

But Camilla w^as in raptui^e, and not un- 
naturally so ; her opening mind was glowing 



48 CLARE ABBEY. 

with the desire to see — her vivid iraagin- 
ation to realize some of the scenes and sights 
of beauty she was unceasingly picturing; 
she made therefore an earnest petition, and 
with little difficulty it was granted by both 
her parents. 

That Reginald's view of the matter would 
be different, she did not then pause to con- 
sider ; but his grave and displeased counte- 
nance when he heard of the invitation and its 
acceptance smote her to the heart. A year 
ago, and this would have been sufficient ; a 
year before and his will and pleasure would 
have been hers also ; but his influence was 
no longer her sole guide. She loved him 
as much as ever, she admired and rever- 
enced him still more ; but her intercourse 
with Miss Vincent had not been entirely 
without effect. Wliile Reginald's character 
was rising and perfecting itself, hers was in 
a slight degree deteriorating. She could no 
longer follow him in the lofty flights of his 
mind ; she no longer shared in his best de- 
sires. The very advance of his character, — 
the change from dreaminess to practice, — 



CLARE ABBEY. 49 

the deepened seriousness of his mind, chilled 
her. She was thirsting, for she knew not 
what — vague visionary happiness — beauty, 
poetry, sympathy — an ideal Paradise ; — and, 
more often than once had been, she allowed 
herself to say that Reginald was too severe, 
and more and more often the wish for free- 
dom was in her heart, and the picture of 
freedom before her eyes. 

His displeasure, therefore, though it pained 
her, did not overcome her will. 

" My dear Reginald," she said, in answer 
to some of his remonstrances, " I wish you 
liked Miss Vincent better ; you would, if you 
knew her more. You really are unjust. She 
is not at all so bad as you tliink. She is a 
great deal better than I am in many ways 
— a great deal more rehgious. I could tell 
you a gTcat many good things she says and 
thinks." Seeing that this assurance made 
little impression on Reginald's mind ; she 
continued : " you are prejudiced, Reginald ; 
and you ought not to be prejudiced — -you 
of all people ought not to be prejudiced. 

VOL. II. E 



50 CLARE ABBEY. 

I am sure I have read yen' often that a 
great man is never prejudiced." 

'^ I am not a great man, Camilla, I wish I 
were ; but even if I were, I am not sure that 
vou are risht. There are some thinpjs one 
feels so instinctively, that one has not time 
to reason upon them ; but though they look 
like prejudices, they are very correct judg- 
ments. I certainly know too little of ^liss 
Vincent to be able to give you ver\' definite 
reasons for my dislike. I may do her some 
injustice : but whatever she may be m her- 
self, I feel that she is not improving you 
Camilla, and I am sorn', ven^ sorry, to see 
this friendship iucrease. Besides," he con- 
tinued after a moment, and his manner 
assumed an air of haughtiness and contempt, 
'' who are these Vincents ; and why should 
you associate with them so famiharly ? " 

A ''besides," in argument, is always fatal 
to conviction, and especially so when a low 
motive follows a high one. Reginald's opi- 
nion, even in its pride, was certainly correct. 
However estimable the Viucents midit have 



CLARE ABBEY. 51 

been, they belonged to a different class ; 
their tone of mind and manner was different, 
and Camilla, unguarded by other pro- 
tectors, was too young to mix with them 
without danger. But what he might have 
said with force was spoken from haughtiness, 
and his cause was weakened by it. 

As an opinion, Camilla would have agreed 
with him, but not in practice when her 
will and fancy were concerned. 

"Ah! Reginald,'* she said, shaking her 
head at him with a smile — "Pride, Pride 
and Prejudice." 

" Perhaps I am too proud, Camilla," he 
said, with a sigh, conscious immediately of 
the questionable motive that had prompted 
his words ; " and if proud, perhaps preju- 
diced also. I think I am right in this case ; 
but if you think otherwise, I will say no 
more, and will not worry you with remon- 
strances you do not like. Only, dear Ca- 
milla, be upon your guard ; you may go into 
new, and, therefore, dangerous society ; do 
not let Miss Vincent tempt you to anything 
E 2 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



52 CLARE ABBEY. 

which your own pure taste and clear judg- 
ment condemn." 

" Oh, Reginald ! I will ..." she paused. 
" I will give it up," was upon her hps, but 
before the words could be said, there came 
dancing before her such fascinating images 
of ruofo'ed rocks and dashino- waves, of 
moonhght on the waters and romantic ad- 
ventures, that the sacrifice was too much 
for her, and the better impulse evaporated 
in vague, though very sincere, words. " I 
will, Reginald, I will indeed," she ex- 
claimed, warmly, " and you need not be 
afraid, for I don't like Mss Vincent's ways 
any more than you do. I wish I pleased 
you better," she continued sadly, distressed 
at having; resisted him. " I wish I never 
did anything you dislike. I wish I was 
more like you. I don't know how it is, but 
I think as you get better I get worse, and 
I don't know what will be the end of it. 
Oh, Reginald ! I wish I were your brother 
instead of your sister, and then you would 
see what I should be." 

Reginald shook his head with a sliglit 



CLARE ABBEY. 53 

smile, and the subject dropped. He Avas 
extremely annoyed, but his mind was not a 
worrying mind: when a thing was to be, 
and he could not prevent it, he yielded to 
it and disturbed iiimself no more. Camilla, 
therefore, was left in peace, to the indulgence 
of her dreams and her mil. 

The day before her departiu'e was Regi- 
nald's twenty-first birth-day, and the day 
was celebrated with especial signs of ho- 
nour. Such signs were foreign to Lord 
Vere's character, but the birth of new 
feelings dictated them now. 

Though not a hard landlord he was a 
morose one, and he and all his family were 
utter strangers to the peasantry thickly clus- 
tered around his abode. Ernest De Grey, 
on his first return, had seen with pain the 
banished and neglected state of those whom 
he in his childhood had kno^vn familiarly; 
and, in the hope of effecting a double good, 
had endeavoured to obtain Lady Yere's per- 
mission for Camilla to interest herself among 
the poor. A double good — for he felt that 
a knowledge of some of the reahties of life 



54 CLARE ABBEY. 

would be the best and most certain cure for 
the few faults of Camilla's character — faults 
to which even his admiring eyes could not 
be blind. But he was met by a resolute 
and animated refusal. It was one of the 
points on which Lady Vere had an opinion. 
Shortly after her arrival at Cranleigh the 
small-pox had been prevalent in the neigh- 
bourhood; and from that day poor people 
and diseases were inseparably bound up in 
her mind. 

Baffled in his first attempt, Ernest next 
endeavoured to draw Reginald's attention to 
the subject, and ^\dth him he had been suc- 
cessful. Reginald had stood apart from no 
uncomteousness of mind — from no lack of 
charity. He never spoke to his inferiors, 
but his Hghtest actions always exhibited 
thoughtful consideration. The poor had felt 
this instinctively; and, while they stood in 
awe of Lord Yere, their feeling towards 
Resfinald had been one of reverence as to- 
wards a superior being. A curious instance 
of this had been shown. Once on a breezy 
day, the shawl of a young girl whom he 



CLARE ABBEY. , 55 

passed, as lie walked alone, was blown to 
a distance. He picked it up and restored 
it to her, without a smile, without a word, 
but gravely and courteously raising his hat 
as he gave it into her hand ; and as if his 
touch had been like the touch of an old saint, 
the shawl was set apart by the parents of 
the gu-1 from that day forward, as a thing 
too bright and good for daily use. Tliis 
had been before Ernest's arrival ; under his 
influence he had approached them more 
nearly; and while they reverenced him as 
much, they had learned to love him more. 
Familiar, Reginald could not be ; but fa- 
miliarity is not needful — none can give 
truly and from the heart except what they 
possess ; and the efforts of condescension 
are alike unpleasing to the rich and the 
poor. Many words and many smiles he 
could not give ; but he gave, under Ernest's 
dh'ection, that which was possible — thought 
and care. Having obtained his father's per- 
mission to interest himself in the concerns 
of his tenantry, he endeavoured to under- 
stand the circumstances of all classes ; and 



56 CLARE ABBEY. 

he endeavoured to show that he was so 
doing. He was understood; and the up- 
ward path of his life began to be followed 
by the eyes of the poor, and his way to 
be strewed and sanctified by their good 
wishes, their hopes, and their prayers. 

Lord Vere saw, — and though he saw 
silently, saw with approval the awakening 
interest in his son. His own life, his own 
self, liis own ■v\Tongs were beginning to pass 
from his mind, and his youth in a better 
and purer form to live again in his son. 
It was partly to strengthen this interest, 
partly to gratify Reginald himself, and 
partly to satisfy, by a public expression, 
the feelings of his own heart, that Lord 
Vere deviated from his usual conduct and 
decided on the celebration of his son's 
majority. 

The arrangement of the festivities was 
intrusted to Ernest's care, and was sin- 
gularly well conducted, all classes and all 
ages coming in for their proper share of 
enjopnent. He had an art for such things ; 
for intense as was his o^vn thirst for 



CLARE ABBEY. 57 

happiness, so great, and even more intense, 
was his desire to see the happiness of others. 

Late in the day a dinner was given to 
sixty or seventy yeomen of the better class 
of tenantry ; and at this dinner, at Ernest's 
special request. Lord Vere, accompanied by 
all his family, consented to appear. 

It was a lovely evening in June ; the soft 
and serene close to a day of sunny beauty. 
The table had been spread on a plot of 
green lawn, immediately within the park, 
and overlooking the village ; where large 
oak trees bending around formed a kind of 
amphitheatre. The spot was beautifully 
situated ; the whole scene picturesque and 
interesting. 

Dinner was nearly over when Lord 
Vere appeared. He paused at a distance 
from the table ; his coming had been an 
effort ; a nearer and more familiar approach 
would have been impossible. His presence, 
however, was an unexpected condescension, 
and as all rose from their seats it was 
acknowledged by a grateful though not 
enthusiastic cheer. Lord Vere bowed stiffly 



58 CLARE ABBEY. 

and coldly as was his wont, and a silence 
followed. It was broken by the pronounc- 
ing of Reginald's name — and that name was 
hailed with such a shout as is seldom heard, 
except in Ireland. Reginald, disengaging 
himself from his mother (who, supported by 
the unusual excitement, had walked above 
half a mile Avithout weariness), went forward 
to the head of the table, and taking off liis 
hat, in a few simple words, gracefully and 
gratefully expressed his thanks. Again the 
shout arose, and while it was echoed from far 
and near, and echoed more loudly in Lord 
Vere's heart, he suddenly left his place — laid 
his hand on his son's shoulder, and in a voice 
heard amidst the din, for it was the voice of 
authority, said, " Speak to them, Reginald ! " 

There was a dead silence at once. Regi- 
nald glanced around him — ^fixed his eyes on 
his father, bent them for a moment to the 
ground: then as if a sudden inspiration 
mastered him, \\dth a glowing cheek and 
kindling eyes, he turned to the expectant 
hearers and began. 

It was as the pouring forth of his whole 



CLARE ABBEY. 59 

nature ; in his advice, in his exhortations, 
he pourtrayed only himself. Loyalty the 
most chivalrous and devoted — the purest 
patriotism — a full and firm, though not per- 
haps a perfect, faith. The lofty aspirations, 
the keen and ardent thirst for reformation, 
and improvement, and progress, which was 
the natural tendency of his mind — blended 
with the sound and practical wisdom, and 
the more dutiful and reverential spirit 
which he had lately caught. 

It is possible, nay probable, that liis words 
and even sometimes his thoughts, were above 
the comprehension of the honest, but dull 
and ignorant men whom he addressed; 
but as the sound of sweet and solemn music 
stirs the hearts of even the uneducated and 
unthinking, so fell upon these hearts the 
music of his voice, the music of his thoughts, 
the music of his words ; stirring, exalting, 
purifying them, Hfting them for that moment 
of time from the low desires and earthborn 
cares which were the common element in 
which they dwelt. The effect of his words 
might be read in the light of the counte- 



60 CLAKE ABBEY. 

nances that gazed on him, and heard in the 
sound, not of the cheer, but of the hush 
which followed them. That instant's silence 
might have furnished a speaking picture 
for the pencil of a Wilkie. The long line 
of honest faces, with wide opened eyes, 
all resting on one youthful form — Reginald, 
his hat in his hand, his countenance flushed 
with feeling and excitement, the soft evening 
breeze lifting the curls from his pure and 
lofty brow — a few yards behind him his 
stern and careworn father with crossed 
arms, and downcast eyes — ^his mother mth 
a look of startled intellect on her beautiful 
but inanimate face — and on the other hand, 
two who stood side by side with eager looks 
and lips apart ; their eyes trembling and 
tearful with the excess of love and admira- 
tion that he excited in their hearts. 

Eeginald had paused for an instant, then 
in a few touching words, alluding to his 
past and present position among them, and 
expressing his o^vn deep acknowledgments 
to his teaching, he gave the health of Ernest 
de Grey. 



CLARE ABBEY. 61 

Shout rose upon sliout, and both names — 
for both \yere loved — were blended together 
in the voices, and, as it seemed, in the hearts 
of the people. In the midst of the cheer 
Reginald returned to his mother, and ob- 
serving that Ernest was unable to do more 
than simply and gratefully, by action rather 
than by words, to express his thanks, he 
gave her his arm, and, obeying his father's 
silent signal, drew her away. 

Ernest and Camilla stood for a moment 
longer, then slowly followed them. 



Moments of strong excitement are dan- 
gerous moments : they disturb, they agitate ; 
and under the influence of their agitation, 
reason, judgment, even principle itself, is 
often shaken on its throne. That the ex- 
citement proceeds from good feeling in no 
way detracts from — rather, perhaps, as being 
more delusive, adds to the dangers of the hour. 

This day, — this celebration of Reginald's 
birth-day, — ^had been in many ways calcu- 
lated to excite Ernest's miud, and arouse 



62 CLARE ABBEY. 

his feelings, ever too quick to arise. Dreams 
of a long-past, of a once-pictured future, 
were tlii'onging upon his fancy ; and envy — 
no base ungenerous feeling, but still an un- 
speakable, agitating envy — was stirring the 
very depths of his heart. And this excite- 
ment came upon a spirit in other ways 
strongly agitated. 

During the flowing months of the past 
half-year, Ernest's feehngs for Camilla had 
been lulled into quietness and repose. He 
saw her continually, but rarely saw her 
alone; again, in Reginald's ever recurring 
returns, he was the companion of their 
rides and their rambles ; but it was the 
frank and fearless intercourse of their early 
acquaintance, not the dangerous intimacy of 
those few winter months. Happy in their 
presence, happy in the present hour, he 
yielded himself to its influence, and suffered 
no forward fears of fancy to obscure its 
brightness. The gladness of his heart shone 
on all around liim ; Reginald's interest in 
his duties ennobled them in his eyes ; he 
performed them with a more steadfast and 



CLARE ABBEY. 63 

willing heart : lie thought he had left war- 
fare and reluctance behind ; — he was, in 
short, happy, and so much of the sunshine 
of youth was still about him, that he could 
live in the passing hour, — could " feed on 
pleasant thoughts, spite of conviction." 
The announcement of Camilla's departure 
had been the knell to these hours of inconsi- 
derate enjo}Tiient. Once again struggle and 
warfare came, — once again passion stirred 
in his heart, — once again the clouds of fear 
gathered about the future, and reluctance 
and distaste over his life. It was not be- 
cause during one fortnight his eyes would 
wander in search of her in vain. Ernest 
was as much in love as man can be, but 
he was a man even in love, too much a man 
to indulge in idle sentiment : it was not her 
departure that agitated him, — it was the 
thought of her return. Vague, dark pre- 
sentiments flitted over his soul, and a voice 
was ever whispering in his ear, that his day 
of happiness was over. Could others' eyes 
see her, and fail to worship? — could other 
hearts approach, and fail to be won ? — must 



64 CLARE ABBEY. 

not all feel as lie did, that one smile of 
affection from her lips would make life 
Paradise? And then — was he anything to 
Jxer?— was there one feeling towards him 
which w^ould bring her back in freedom 
should such other love assail her ? These 
were the racking fears and tossing doubts 
which, never ending, still beginning, once 
more shook the innermost recesses of his 
soul. 

And now the last day was come, and the 
day was passed in excitement. Around and 
about him there were scenes and sights of 
happiness, — boyish amusements, boyish 
sports, — which made his old boyish nature 
bound within him. Then came the even- 
ing—the picturesque scene — the sight of 
Reginald — Reginald's stirring words — the 
touching mention of himself — the shout — 
the thrilhng music of human voices — that 
shout for him — and then .... 

The noise and the excitement were over, 
and in the still soft evening, — in the much- 
loved scenes of his youthful joys, — he wan- 
dered in silence and alone by Camilla's side. 



CLARE ABBEY. 65 

It was a dangerous moment — a moment 
of temptation, — and Ernest, agitated with 
conflicting feelings, — thoughts that stirred 
him and drew him up to Reginald's height, 
and thoughts that weighed him down and 
laid him at Camilla's feet, was scarcely him- 
self to bear it. 

They walked for a time slowly and in 
silence, — for Camilla also was in deep 
thought ; and further and further Ernest's 
higher thoughts vanished, as every feeling 
began to gather around her, as every faculty 
of his intellect appeared to be centred on 
the question, "What feeling bowed her 
head and slackened her footsteps?" 

The question was answered at length, 

" Oh, Mr. De Grey ! " she exclaimed, rais- 
ing her lovely face, tearfiil still, and full of 
unwonted emotion, to his ; " What does Re- 
ginald make you feel ? Don't you wish with 
all your heart that you were like him ?" 

" I do," he replied ; and all his heart was 
in the reply. 

" No, I did not mean to say that to yc>w," 
she said, with a manner that asked his for- 
VOL. II. r 



66 CLAKE ABBEY. 

giveness. " I only meant to say that I 
wished it myself. You are like Reginald — 
you are good, like him. I ought not to have 
said that to you." 

" No more like your brother/' he replied, 
passionately, his voice and words alike be- 
traying the excitement of his mind, " than 
a glorious angel is hke a poor creeping 
worm." 

'^''Oh, Mr. De Grey, you should not say that, 
for it is not true ; but still I think you are 
so far right; there is something in Reginald 
unlike common human beings — something 
that makes one feel — at least, that make? 
me feel, sad, and ashamed, and longing to 
be, I hardly know what, but very different 
to what I am; not so low, so poor, so 
selfish . . . . " She paused, and sighed. 

Ernest made no remark : he could not 
speak calmly; and they walked on in silence. 

" I wish I was not going away to-mor- 
row," she began again, after a pause, in a 
kind of musing tone. " I did wish so much 
to go, I could not give it up, not even for 
Reginald ; but now I am sorry, very 



CLARE ABBEY. 67 

sorry ,...'* She paused again, perhaps in 
hopes of consolation from those ever-sym- 
pathizing lips, but it came not. " One feels 
so differently," she went on, " at different 
times. It did not seem wrong to wish for 
amusement, or to see beautiful sights, and 
other places besides this ; but now . . . . " 
Again she paused, and still no comment or 
consolation came. 

" Why don't you speak, Mr. De Grey?" 
she exclaimed at last, a little impatiently, 
and impatience banishing her sadder mood. 
" If you think me very wrong to go, I would 
much rather you told me so." 

" Wrong ! " he cried, startled. " Oh no ; 
I had no such thought." 

" What, then ! — what makes you so silent 
and so thoughtful?" 

" I was thinking of myself — of what your 
going is to me." He spoke calmly ; but self- 
control was giving way he was entering 
into temptation. 

"To you?" and she looked up with a 
smile ? " Why, I think you will be able to 
bear it ; I am to be back again in a fortnight." 
f2 



68 CLAKE ABBEY. 

*' But how V He still spoke calmly ; but 
irrepressible agitation was beating beneath. 

^''HowV' she said, smiling still. "What 
do you mean ? Do you think a fortnight can 
make any very wonderful change?" 

If there had been one tone of feeling in 
her voice, he would have been still ; but to 
let her go forth thus — thus careless, thus 
indifferent, thus unconscious of the love he 
bore her — he could not do it. 

The inward struggle was prolonged upon 
his lips ; he hesitated. Once and again his 
mouth was opened and closed again ; but he 
spoke at length. 

" Do you indeed ask me what I mean ? 
And if I were to dare to tell, would you 
hear me speak?" 

As if in calmness there were strength and 
resistance, he still spoke calmly, and his 
calmness failed to enhghten Camilla. Some- 
thing — some expression of regret — some- 
thing which might have been called a pretty 
speech she did expect, but no more. 

She blushed deeply, and turned away her 
head ; but there was nothing forbidding in 



CLARE ABBEY. 69 

the movement. He might have been par- 
doned if it was misunderstood. Ernest 
paused no longer : he had led himself to the 
brink of temptation, and now, dizzy with 
excitement, he plunged in. 

As he began to speak, scales fell from 
Camilla's eyes, and she attempted faintly to 
stop him ; but passionately sa}^ng, " No, it 
is done, and you must hear me now," he 
poured forth his love, and — for it was 
nothing less — idolatry. 

Shrinking into herself, terrified and af- 
frighted, Camilla heard him. Not one 
thought of what he felt towards her — not 
one idea of what it was to be loved as he 
loved her, had ever entered into her ima- 
gination to conceive. A mere child in 
mind, Miss Vincent had filled her fancy 
with tales of sentiment ; and, without a 
dream of accompanying feeling, she had 
fancied it a toy to play with, amusing her- 
self with the thought of Ernest's love as 
with one of the idle tales she read. 

There came a pause — hopeless, and yet 
his heart beating with hope — fearful, and 



70 CLARE ABBEY, 

yet his heart agitated with the joy of having 
" told his love," Ernest hung upon her lips. 
And how was he awakened from his bewil- 
dering trance of feeling? Too much ter- 
rified to be penitent or to feel, too shy and 
shrinking to enter on the question of his 
love or her indifference, it was the petulant 
voice of a child that answered him. 

" Don't, Mr. De Grey, — pray, don't say 
such things. I don't like them." 

" You don't like them," he repeated, as if 
the words conveyed nor sound nor sense to 
his ears. 

" I don't, I don't indeed," she said, shrink- 
ing from him. " I hope you never will say 
them aorain." 

o 

" Forgive me," after a long pause, mur- 
mured a voice beside her, — a voice changed 
and altered, of unutterable sadness, — " for- 
give my madness, and forget my — despair. 
It is all over now, for ever ! " 

He seemed hardly conscious that still he 
walked beside her : he was bowed alike 
with shame and misery — his broken vows — 
his shattered dream. 



CLARE ABBEY. 71 

Camilla's heart swelled. His voice, his 
words had touched a place hitherto sealed 
and hidden within her. Childhood was pass- 
ing away ; she was beginning to think and 
to feel ; the past was assuming its true 
colours, her own thoughtless conduct to 
awaken her to pity and remorse. She would 
have spoken if she could, — she would have 
unsaid her petulant words, — she would have 
asked him to pardon her, but she dared not. 

A few moments brought them to the en- 
closed lawn and the broad gravel walk, and 
then Ernest came to himself The others 
had. far outstripped them, and had already 
entered the house. He stopped, and held 
out liis hand in silence. 

Touched and subdued, Camilla forced, her- 
self to speak, 

" Won't you come in, Mr, De Grey?" she 
said softly, even tenderly. " Reginald ex- 
pects you, and I am sure he will "ivish it." 

"No," he replied, mournfully; "none can 
wish for the sight of one like me." He 
paused, as if to gain the strength to speak 
calmly ; then, holding the hand she had given 



72 CLARE ABBEY. 

him, continued, " You must forgive me if 
you can, — you must forget, if you can, that 
I have spoken words which duty, truth, and 
honour forbade me to speak. I have gxieved 
and pained you, whom I would die to save 
from one hour's uneasiness. I do not de- 
serve your pity, but you may pity me ; for 
I am lost for ever in your and my o^vn 
esteem. And now, God bless you ! " 

He wTnmg her hand; and, without wait- 
ing for word or answer, disappeared. 

AVith an aching heart, with teariul eyes, 
with a deep-drawn sigh, Camilla looked 
after him ; but these signs of regret and re- 
pentance were unseen and unknown by him. 
He hurried on in bitterness of spirit through 
the tranquil wood, through the scenes of 
festivity, the sounds of mirth and gaiety 
falling maddening upon his ear, till he 
reached his lonely home. There, burying 
his head in his arms, he gave himself up to 
despair ; — despair, because the stings of con- 
science wounded more sharply and bitterly 
than the pangs of despised love. How had 
he fallen ! Wliere were liis solemn vows ? 



CLARE ABBEY. -73 

— where was his truth, his duty ? — where 
was a rav of trust in himself, or confidence 
for the future. Despair ; because even then, 
when humbled in the dust, no vows of 
amendment, no prayers for strength were in 
his heart or on his lips ! It was the old 
tempting, repining voice, that was murmur- 
ing, " Why was he singled out for disap- 
pointment ? — why was every cherished hope 
of his heart to be doomed to destruction ? — 
was it to be ever thus — ever and ever must 
he love in vain?" 



74 CLARE ABBEY. 



CHAPTER III. 

The sea, the sea, the open sea. 

Song. 

©0 begegnet ^Jtan jic^ immer n>ieber in bet 'SSkit. 

"I AM afraid Miss St. Maur is tired," 
remarked Mr. Vincent, on the second even- 
ing of their arrival at , speaking in his 

usual slow oracular manner. 

Camilla was leaning back in her chair, 
silent, idle, and unoccupied. 

Day-dreams are often doomed to disap- 
pointment, especially the day-dreams of 
those who, gifted with an ardent and vivid 
imagination, endow a distant scene with 
such virtues and properties as no ]oresent 
scene ever possessed. What Camilla had 
expected it would be hard to say; but had 
her picture been far less glowing than it 
really was, the private life of the Vincents 



CLARE ABBEY. 75 

would have furnished few colours of en- 
chantment to realize it. ]\Ir. Vincent was 
kind, dull, and heavy — amusing for a time 
by his peculiar habit, but annoying after- 
wards. Mrs. Vincent, kind, but fussy — 
fussing about household concerns, which to 
Camilla, being entirely new, was enough of 
itself to destroy the romance of life. To 
those who are unaccustomed to the neces- 
sity for such cares, the details of life, the 
misdemeanours of servants, the extortions 
of butcher and baker, are very low, mean, 
and grovelhng things. Miss Vincent, too, 
in her own family, was inclined to give 
herself airs — and altogether Camilla found 
that however pleasing novelty may be, it 
must depend on circumstances. This re- 
flection was not a very new one, but it 
was new to Camilla, and she was ponder- 
ing upon it. 

" Oh no ! I am not tired," she said, 
rousing herself at Mr. Vincent's voice, and 
sitting upright in her chair ; " I was only 
thinking." 

" Miss St. Maur is kind enough to say she 



76 CLARE ABBEY. 

is not tired," he pronounced; "but if I 
might presume to contradict her, I should 
say that there were some appearances of 
fatigue. How does it strike you, my 
dear?" addressing his wife; "I should say 
that Miss St. Maur looks a little pale." 

"You do look pale, my dear Miss St. 
Maur. No ! " as Camilla laughed and shook 
her head ; " well, I dare say it is our fancy ; 
you know we must be anxious about you. 
After all, however, it is only natural you 
should be tired. Sophia is tired too." 

" We have had a very tiring day, in my 
opinion," Miss Vincent said, laughing; "a 
great deal of exercise, and no amusement or 
excitement. I am always tired when I am 
not excited." 

" I hope Miss St. Maur does not find it 
dull? " Mr. Vincent asked, anxiously. 

" Oh no, indeed ! " Camilla said, with 
much earnestness, all her natural courteous- 
ness aroused ; " my feet are a little tired 
with the shingles, but nothing else. I don't 
know what Miss Vincent means : I have en- 
joyed the day very much. If it were only to 



CLAEE ABBEY. 77 

Stand and look at the rocks and the sea, I 
don't think I should ever wish for anything 
else. How very, very beautiful the sea is," 
she continued, drawing her chair a little 
nearer to jVIr. Vincent, and endeavouring to 
make herself agreeable. 

" Sophia admires the scenery as much as 
you do, Miss St. Maur," observed Mrs. Yin- 
cent, " but she thinks that scenery, like most 
other things, requires to be enlivened by 
living creatures, to make it perfectly agree- 
able." 

"And Miss St. Maur feels the same, if she 
would own it," Miss Vincent said, looking 
up for a moment from a drawing on which 
she was engaged. 

" Well, my dear ]\Iiss St. Maur, I am sure 
I hope you will have a little better amuse- 
ment another day." — Mrs. Vincent spoke so 
fast that Camilla could not interrupt her. 
" It is not the season here, but there are a 
few people we know, and we shall see them 
to-morrow, I dare say. We have been ra- 
ther unlucky in timing our visit, for all the 
world — all the world this place can boast of 



78 CLARE ABBEY. 

— are gone to some races. I know young 
people like society, and I assure you we 
should not have asked you to come here only 
to our dull selves." 

" But, Mrs. Vincent, I don't want society," 
Camilla at last succeeded in saying. "I don't 
the least agree with Miss Vincent. I should 
like to sit on the beach by myself all day. 
Pray don't think I am tired," and she left 
her seat and wandered to the open window 
to prove the truth of her words. On her 
return she stopped to look at Miss Vincent's 
drawing. " Oh, Miss Vincent ! " she ex- 
claimed, " how very pretty ! Is that the 
sketch you took to-day ? I can't think how 
you, who have so much to amuse you, can 
care about society. If I could draw, I am 
sure I should never be dull or lonely." 

"You are always moralizing for other 
people. Miss St. Maur, never for yourself," 
Miss Vincent replied. "Perhaps I could 
answer you that if I were queen of Clare 
Abbey — with such a brother as Mr. St. 
Maur, and such a . . . ." she paused and 
looked with a smile at Camilla ; " . . as Mr. 



CLA-RE ABBEY. 79 

De Grey, / should never be dull or lonely, — 
you envy me — I envy you." Camilla 
blushed and looked grave ; the mention of 
Ernest made her feel ashamed and sorry ; — 
the blushes were usual, the gravity not so 
usual, and perceiving that Camilla had no 
wish to pursue the subject. Miss Vincent 
continued, " But if you have a mind to draw, 
why don't you draw ? " 

" Because I can't — I never learnt. 
Reginald does not draw, and so I never 
wished to draw in former times." 

" Should you like it now ? I shall be very 
happy to teach you, if you would." 

" I should Uke it better than anything in 
the world," she exclaimed warmly. 

" Then take a bit of paper and copy this 
sketch; I am sure you will be able to do it. 
Only determine you will. There are some 
pencils." 

Very eagerly Camilla sat down to her 
task, but protesting all the while that it was 
impossible. And extremely surprised she 
was and gratified when a very tolerable copy 
of a pencil sketch came forth from her hands. 



80 CLARE ABBEY. 

" There, Miss Vincent," she said, handing 
it to her, " what do you think of it ? I hope 
you won't say it is hopelessly bad." 

" Hopelessly bad, my dear Miss St. Maur ? 
no, indeed, I s' all say no such thing. I call 
it a work of genius — you know I always tell 
you, you are a genius if you would allow 
your genius to appear, and this proves it. I 
assure you it is extremely well done, won- 
derfully well done." 

"No, no, that is flattery," Camilla said, 
" but if you don't think it very bad, that is 
enough ; you must teach me again to- 
morrow. It is not half so difficult as I 
thought. Do you think I could draw that 
fine pointed rock we saw to-day?" 

" Of course you could ; you have only to 
copy nature instead of my drawing. We 
will go to-morrow morning and try." 

Very early after breakfast, the following 
morning, Camilla reminded Miss Vincent of 
her promise, and they set off together to a 
spot on the beach, about half a mile from 
the hotel. 

'' How eager you are, Miss St. Maur," 



CLAEE ABBEY. 81 

her companion remarked, as they walked 
along; "you take to everything so violently. 
What a treasure you must have been as a 
pupil!" 

'' Oh ! dear no," Camilla said, " my 
governesses would have told you quite a 
different story. If I like a thing I take to 
it, but I never can do anything I dislike. I 
was a good child with my music and history, 
because I like these things — but I never 
could do sums or grammar, or anything 
difficult." 

" I am very fond of languages. Do you 
like that kind of study?" 

" No, not at all — I know French, of 
course, but I don't like it, and I know a 
little Italian — but I don't care about it — 
and as to German, I tried it once — or rather 
it was tried on me, for I hated it from the 
first moment — but quite in vain, I never 
could learn German." 

" I think you have a great loss then — I 
am particularly fond of German literature. 
There is more feeling I think in the German 

VOL. II. G 



82 CLARE ABBEY. 

writers, than in all the authors of other 
countries put together." 

" You always talk and think about feeling, 
Miss Vincent," Camilla said musingly. 

"Do you object to it?" asked her com- 
panion. 

" No, I don't know that I object — at least, 
I don't now, I did at first, for it made me 
feel melancholy — but now I don't so much 
mind feeling melancholy. I don't quite feel 
as I used to feel. I feel very odd some- 
times." 

Miss Vincent looked at her with a 
smile, and with some amusement. "And 
what has made a change? " she inquired. 

" Oh 1 I don't know — I suppose you 
have." 

" Me ! impossible. / should not have 
been likely to make you feel. Do you know, 
I begin to hope that poor ^Ir. De Grey has 
at last made some slight impression on your 
stony heart. Now confess it." 

" No, indeed. Miss Vincent," she said 
gravely; "and I wish you would not talk 
any more about ^Ir. De Grey — I don't like 



CLARE ABBEY. 83 

it — and besides, he is a clergyman ; and that 
makes him quite different to other people. 
You should not talk about clergymen in that 
way." 

" I don't see that. Clerg}'men feel like 
other people, as you know very well. Xow, 
Miss St. Maur, it is no use attempting to 
deceive me ; I see very plainly what has 
happened, and I should only be punishing 
you properly for your reserve with me, if I 
were to teaze you about it. But I will be 
generous. Now, here we are. Do you think 
your rock will do from this spot ? — or do 
you Uke to go higher ?" 

" I think it looks very pretty from here." 

" Well, then, you can sit on this stone, 
and I will lend you my block : it will be 
easier for you to hold than a bit of paper." 

"What shall I do?" CamHla asked, look- 
ing despairingly at the number of objects 
before her and about her. " You must tell 
me Exactly. I am very sorry to give you 
so much trouble." 

" It is no trouble : I am particularly fond 
of teaching. Look now : I would make that 
G 2 



84 CLARE ABBEY. 

rock the object of your drawing. I would 
take in those prettily-shaped distant ones in 
the background, and the rest should be 
water. Then, just in front, you might in- 
troduce those two boats. It mil be a very 
pretty sketch ; and I shall do it myself" 

Camilla sat down to her drawing, and 
Miss Vincent moved to a distance of five or 
six yards, to take the sketch in a slightly 
different point of view. 

She talked as she sketched, Hghtly and 
easily ; but Camilla remained entirely en- 
grossed with her drawing for upwards of a 
quarter of an hour. She then called to her 
companion. 

" I wish you would come here. Miss Vin- 
cent. It don't look the least as I wish 
it to look. I wonder what you will think 
of it." 

It was another voice, coming from imme- 
diately behind, that answered her. " Much 
genius," the voice said, "but little art." 

Camilla started, looked up, and blushed 
deeply. It was Frank Hargrave who stood 
behind her. 



CLARE ABBEY. 85 

He lield out his hand without speaking, 
and then left her to meet Miss Vincent, who 
had been slowly moving towards Camilla, 
but now paused. To Camilla's surprise, she 
shook hands with him also ; and, though she 

asked him how long he had been at , 

she evinced no extraordinary degree of aston- 
ishment at the sight of him. 

They stood conversing for a few minutes ; 
then, while Miss Vincent was gathering her 
things together, he returned to Camilla, and 
his first words were as if they had parted 
but an horn* before. 

Waving his hand over the wide- spreading 
ocean before them, he said, " Is that the 
great world we spoke of?" and, wliile he 
spoke, he looked at her with that same smile 
and that same -piercing gaze, which had 
before affected her so strangely. 

She blushed, and forgot to answer him ; 
then, remembering she had forgotten, blushed 
more deeply. 

A rather awkward silence followed ; then, 
with a kind of impatience against herself, 
Camilla took her book in her hand, and 



86 CLARE ABBEY. 

went towards Miss Vincent, who was still 
arranging her pencils. 

" Do look at my drawing, Miss Vincent/' 
she exclaimed ; " it is all wrong, I know ; 
but I don't know what is wrong." 

" I don't think it is at all, all wrong, my 
dear Miss St. Maur. It shows, I think, extra- 
ordinary talent; and if you take a little 
pains, I am sure you will be a great artist. 
Now, Mr. Hargrave, look at Miss St. Maur's 
first sketch. Don't you think it is wonder- 
fully well done?" 

" May I say what I really think, and 
without offence?" he said, with a smile, to 
Camilla. 

" Oh, certainly," she replied. " I like the 
truth a thousand times better than flattery." 

" I thought so. Then I Inay say that you 
and Miss Vincent are both right : as she says, 
it is very well done for a first attempt ; and 
as you say, it certainly is all wrong." 

" I see it is ; but I can't see where. Can 
you show me?" 

" I certainly can, if I may. Do you see 
your rock?" taking the drawing, and point- 



CLARE ABBEY. 87 

icg upon it ; " it is well done, very well 
done. I tliink your pencil touches are very 
promising ; but how strangely you have 
placed it — how out of proportion, I mean, to 
all the other parts of your drawing. These 
boats, which are close to you, look like nut- 
shells ; and those fine distant rocks are more 
like hills of sand than bold rocks. I am sure 
you have genius, but you want a little art." 

" I see now," Camilla said, laughing; "and 
I am very much obliged to you for your cri- 
ticism." 

" I must make again, Miss St. Maur, "Miss 
Vincent exclahned, " a remark I made just 
now : what a good pupil you make. I could 
never have stood, as you have done, to have 
my performance laughed at." 

" Miss St. Maur is perfectly aware," Mr. 
Hargrave said, with a look of annoyance, 
" that laughing at her drawing was far from 
my mind." 

" If you did laugh, it is only what every- 
body must do ; and, besides, as I really wish 
to learn to draw, I am very glad to have the 
faults pointed out so as I can understand 



88 CLAEE ABBEY. 

'them. Can you draw as well as criticise?" 
she asked, after a moment. 

" Yes," he replied. 

" How extremely honest you are, Mr. 
Hargrave," Miss Vincent said, laughingly. 
" You ought to have said ' a little,' as most 
people would have done, and then that would 
have left me the satisfaction of contradicting 
you, and perhaps paying you a compliment." 

" I know I draw pretty well," he said, 
carelessly, and in a tone different to that in 
which he addressed Camilla ; " it would have 
been affectation, therefore, to call it only a 
little." 

" You are right. Mr. Hargrave draws very 
well," said Miss Vincent, turning to Camilla ; 
" indeed, beyond praise ; and if you wish to 
have a pretty drawing of your favourite rock, 
I advise you to ask him to sketch it for you." 

Camilla was silent, and seemed unwilling 
to make the request. 

"Should you really like it?" he asked, 
eagerly. " It would give me the greatest 
pleasure to do it." 

" I should like it, certainly," she replied, 



CLARE ABBEY. §9 

shyly ; then with her fitful manner, which, 
like herself, was now a woman and now a 
cliild, continued animatedly, "I can't think 
what it reminds me of; but I think it must 
be the rock in 'Anne of Geierstein.' But I 
should be sorry to give you the trouble." 

" It shall be done in a moment ; and if 
you and Miss Vincent can wait a few mi- 
nutes, I will return ^^dth it here." 

Without waiting for an answer, he sprang 
on a piece of rock above them, and disap- 
peared. 

Camilla walked to a little distance, then 
sat doTSTL on a stone, and began to draw 
circles on the sand vntli her parasol. Miss 
Vincent put a few more touches to her 
dra^vhig, then came and seated herself at 
her feet. 

"You knew Mr. Hargrave before, I 
tliink?" she inquired. 

"Yes, a very little. He came once to 
Clare Abbey — I forget exactly when, but it 
was some time last mnter." 

"/remember exactly when. He called at 
Carrington the day after he called on you." 



90 . CLARE ABBEY. 

"Did he?" she said, with some surprise, 
but said no more. 

" Now, Miss St. Maur," Miss Vincent re- 
marked, laughingly, " what do you want to 
ask me?" 

" Nothing," Camilla said, decidedly. 

" Oh, Miss St. Maur," shaking her head, 
" I don't believe you. But I shall punish 
you well : I shall not tell you one word of 
what ]\Ir. HargTave said about you." 

" I don't want to know," she said, impa- 
tiently ; " I would rather not hear. I wish 
you would believe me. Miss Vincent : I hate 
not to be believed." 

" I am very sorry to say such an uncivil 
thing," she replied playfully; "but there are 
some things I really cannot believe. If any- 
body says a pretty thing about me, I hke to 
hear it ; and I cannot help thinking, that if 
all people were as honest as I am, all would 
own the same." 

Camilla made no answer, but proceeded 
with innumerable circles on the sand. Be- 
fore a fresh subject could be started, Mr. 



CLAEE ABBEY. 91 

Hargrave stood by Camilla's side, and placed 
the desired sketch in her hand. 

She made an exclamation of pleasure and 
amazement. He had been absent barely a 
quarter of an hour ; but the sketch was a 
prettily finished water-coloured drawing, in 
tints of blue and bro\^^l. 

" Is it possible you have done this now ?" 

He smiled, and seemed gratified by her 
surprise ; but he proceeded to explain it. 

" The colours seem perhaps miraculous," 
he said ; '' but they would not, if you were 
accustomed to drawing. I am very fond of 
travelling, and very fond of sketching, when 
an object strikes me : I am obliged, there- 
fore, to carry my materials with me. You 
shall see the whole apparatus." 

He drew from his pocket a set of draAving 
and painting materials in miniature, and ex- 
hibited them to her pleased and wondering 
eyes. 

" How very, very pleasant it must be to 
draw so well," she said, returning again to 
admire the pretty sketch. " It makes me 
more emious than I can say." 



92 CLARE ABBEY. 

" You will soon draw well, if you \\dsh 
it so much. Wish and fancy go a great 
way." He paused a moment, and seemed 
to be considering, then continued : '^ Per- 
haps I am going to make a strange proposal 
— Miss Vincent must correct me if it is so ; 
but if I could be of any use in teaching you 
the first elements of drawing, I shall be here 
for two or tliree days, and I can only say 
that it would give me the greatest pleasure 
to assist you." 

Camilla looked at ]\liss Vincent. She 
did know what she ought to say, was not 
sure what she wished to say. 

" I advise you to profit by Mr. Hargrave's 
proposal. Miss St. Maur. It is so good a 
one, tliat if I am allowed, I shall take 
advantage of it myself." 

Camilla still hesitated. " I should like 
it," she said, "but do you think Mrs. Vin- 
cent will not object ? " 

" Mamma would not, I think, object to 
anything you proposed — I am siu-e she 
would not to this; you need not be afraid." 

" Then I should be very much obliged 



CLAEE ABBEY. \)6 

to you ;" and she raised her eyes with a 
faint blush to Mr. Hargrave. 

He looked as if he could scarcely restrain 
himself from saying something extremely 
pretty — but he did refrain, and only rephed, 
that she need not be obliged, as it would 
make him very happy to assist her. Imme- 
diately afterwards remarking that he had 
an appointment ^vith a friend, he bowed and 
left them — and Camilla and ^liss Vincent 
returned homewards. 



94 CLAEE ABBEY. 



CHAPTER IV. 

She, full of inward questions, walks alone, 
To take her heart aside in secret shade ; 

But knocking at her breast it seem'd, or gone, 
Or by confederacy useless made. 

Or else some stranger did usurp its room, 
One so remote and new in every thought, 

As his behaviour shows him not at home, 

Nor the guide sober that him tliither brought. 

Yet with this foreign heart she does begin 
To treat of love, her most unstudied theme. 

GONDIBERT. 

Camilla's sense of something uncon- 
genial in the Vincents did not evaporate; 
on the contrary, when their number was 
increased by a few friends different in name, 
but the same in manner, the uncongeniality 
increased in a like degree. 

On the third evening, the evening of the 
day of the meetmg on the sea-shore, Mrs. 
Vincent managed to collect half a dozen 



CLARE ABBEY. 95 

acquaintances at tlieir hotel. There were 
two old gentlemen, and two young ones, 
and two ladies; all rather pleasing in 
appearance than otherwise, and yet Camilla 
sat apart, and felt as she had never felt 
before, isolated and desolate ; — and what 
was still more unusual, unwilling to be 
noticed. There was nothing very remark- 
able in this, for manners are a greater bond 
of union than minds — at least, on a first 
acquaintance they are so — and the manners 
of the Vincents and their friends were not 
the manners to which Camilla was accus- 
tomed. The atmosphere around Clare 
Abbey was one of extreme and even fasti- 
dious refinement. Nothing like noise or 
bustle was ever heard. The children, as 
children, had been taught to pitch their 
voices in a certain key — the very servants 
spoke and moved noiselessly. Something 
of the same characteristic distinguished 
Camilla's few acquaintances — even Mr. and 
Mrs. Hervey being quietly common-place, 
or quietly prolix. The very fact, therefore, 
that the voices of these new acquaintances 



96 CLAKE ABBEY. 

were pitched in a louder key than the one 
to which she was accustomed, and that their 
laugh was more frequent and more ringing, 
was in itself sufficient to make her feel in a 
new element ; but in addition to this, the 
conversation displeased her; it might be 
more in the manner than in the words — but 
certainly the freedom with which Miss 
Vincent allowed herself to be addressed 
by the young men, and rallied about her 
" conquests," was new to her. She felt she 
did not like it, and retiring to a sofa, at a 
distance from all but Mr. Vincent, who was 
dozing, she sat apart, amusing herself by 
observation. 

" My dear Miss St. Maur," ]\Irs. Vincent 
exclaimed, when she observed her position, 
approaching her with an apology upon her 
lips and in her manner ; " why do you hide 
yourself in this way ? I hope Sophia has not 
forgotten to introduce you to our friends ? " 

" Oh ! no, indeed, she did everything 
right ; but you know I know nobody, and I 
had rather sit here if you don't mind." 

" Of course, my dear, I like best whatever 



CLARE ABBEY. 97 

you like best, but I am sorry to see you so 
dull. What shall we do to amuse you ? AVe 
will have a round game by and by, if you 
like. Do you like cards?" 

" I like to listen better than anything, if 
I have something to do with my fingers. 
Would it be wrong to work ? I did not feel 
sure whether you would like it." 

"Wrong to work!" exclaimed Miss Vin- 
cent, laughing. " No, my dear Miss St. 
Maur ; pray do whatever you like best 
while you are "with us. Mr. Langley, be so 
good as to bring Miss St. Maur her work- 
basket from the piano-forte. Now, pray sit 
still, my dear ; what are men made for but 
to be employed ? Well, if you like to sit 
here, like a little hermit, you shall, for a 
time ; but we will have a round game by- 
and-by ;" and leaving Camilla, she returned 
to her guests. 

Camilla worked and listened, and was 
amused ; but her listening did not increase 
her desire for further acquaintance ; and 
after a time she fell into a meditation on 
the disappointments of novelty again, and 

VOL. II. H 



98 CLARE ABBEY. 

thought, with much tenderness and longing, 
of Reginald and her home. She was roused 
by a movement in the room, — j\Irs. Vincent 
going across to speak to her daughter. As 
she raised her eyes she met the eyes of 
Mr. Hargrave, who stood in the doorway, 
and was looking at her fixedly. She blush- 
ed, and proceeded with her work ; and he 
withdrew his gaze ; but it was strange how, 
in a moment, the face of things was 
changed : the Vincents became less vulgar, 
the strangers less strange, her home and 
Reginald disappeared, or melted into the 
distance. 

iVIrs. Vincent, after speaking to her 
daughter for a few moments, passed on, 
and approached Mr. Hargrave. 

"You are very late," she said, "I was 
afraid you were going to disappoint us." 

" I was detained," was all he said. 

" Now that you are come, I hope you will 
take charge of Miss St. Maur's amusement. 
Poor little thing ! either she is shy, or else 
our friends do not suit her; or else she is 
not suited to them : but there she has been 



CLARE ABBEY. 99 

sitting alone, till I felt quite ashamed of 
ourselves. I promised her a round game, 
and was just speaking to Sophia about it, 
but she is going to sing with ^Ir. Langley, 
and does not fancy giving it up. If you 
will undertake her, she will be well amused, 
which is no compliment I assure you, and 
I and ]VIr. Vincent may go comfortably to 
our whist." 

Frank Hargrave bowed in answer to Mrs. 
Vincent's arrangements, but stood still till 
they had been carried into effect. He then 
joined ^liss Vincent at the piano-forte, 
looked over her music, and asked for two or 
three particular songs ; finally, slowly and 
thoughtfully he approached Camilla. 

He took a chair, and placed it nearly 
opposite to her ; a long narrow-shaped table 
between them. 

" Did you see JVIrs. Vincent speak to me?" 
he inquired, as he sat down. 

" Yes ! " she said, a little surprised and 
curious. 

" Do you know what she said?" 

Camilla shook her head without looking up. 
h2 



100 CLARE ABBEY. 

" She feared you miglit be dull, and 
desired me to undertake your amusement. 
Do you consent to my endeavouring at 
least to obey her wishes?" He leant his 
arm upon the table, and looked at her. 

She smiled, but blushed more deeply. 
The same uneasy feeling was stealing over 
her. 

But if he had power to make her uneasy, 
he had power also to dispel her uneasiness. 
Looking carelessly round the room, he 
asked her quietly if she had made the 
acquaintance of all who were present. 

" I have been introduced to them," she 
said, recovering herself ; " but I don't know 
them, do you?" 

" I knoAV them all but one. The lady in 
the garland is a total stranger to me, and 
I should be sacrificing truth to politeness 
if I did not add, that I hope she will re- 



main so." 



" I should think so," Camilla said, laugh- 
ing ; " 1 really think people who dress in 
such a way ought to be banished from 
society," 



CLAEE ABBEY. 101 

" Dressing well is a great art, very few 
understand it. Most people suppose that 
to dress means to over-dress. The lady 
with the garland, for instance, supposes that 
she is equipped most becomingly, and if 
those sun-flowers or star-fishes — for really I 
can't distinguish their exact features — were 
removed, she would hide her diminished 
head with shame and confusion." 

" Miss Vincent dresses well ; don't you 
think so?" 

" Yes, certainly well. Her plain silk 
go^vn is, as the old saying says, ' Neat, but 
not gaudy.' Yesterday I should have ad- 
mired Miss Vincent's dress very much — to 
day, if I cannot do so, you must forgive 
me." And he turned upon Camilla again 
one of those earnest admiring gazes beneath 
which her whole being seemed to tremble. 

His admiration mig;ht at the moment have 
been forgiven, for she looked surpassingly 
lovely. Her dress was simphcity itself, but its 
simplicity served but to heighten the contrast 
of her liigh-born au* with her handsome but 
differently-moulded companions. Her curls, 



102 CLARE ABBEY. 

disordered by the sea breezes, were gathered 
up behind ; her beautiful profile was more 
distinctly visible, and as her head slightly 
bent forward, her colour rising and fading, 
and her long lashes resting shyly and tremb- 
lingly on her cheek — a more graceful or 
interesting object could scarcely have been 
conceived. 

A silence followed, and this time it was 
Camilla, impatient and angry with herself, 
who broke it. 

" Do you know Reginald well, IVIr. Har- 
grave ? " 

" What does your brother say ? " he in- 
quired, in answer. " I must not claim more 
acquaintance than he chooses to allow." 

" I don't know. He did not tell me." 

" No," he replied, after a little thought ; 
'' I don't know your brother well. We move 
in different spheres — we have different pur- 
suits, different friends, and different objects 
in Ufe.'' 

'^ But then, how do you know him at all ? 
and you seemed to know him pretty well 
too." 

" We have a mediator between us," he 



CLAEE ABBEY. 103 

said, with a smile ; " a link which joins us 
together. There is a person at Oxford 
whose character is yet undecided. There is 
no saying what he will be. He is not like 
your brother — very, very different ; but in 
him the organ of veneration is strong. He 
looks up to your brother — I might say he 
worships him; and yet he condescends to 
notice so unworthy an individual as myself. 
At his rooms I and your brother often 
meet." 

"And don't you admire Reginald?" Ca- 
milla inquhed eagerly, for she had fancied 
there was something; of sarcasm in his tone. 

" Yes, I admire liim — but I am not and 
never could be like him, and — if you will 
not be offended at my saying so — I do not 
wish it.'* 

" I think all the world micrht well wish to 
be like Reginald," she said with vehemence; 
" it would be a different world if it was so." 

" It would," he said, smiling, "and per- 
haps not so pleasant a one." He paused ; 
then, fixing his piercing eyes upon her, he 
continued : " Would you, yourself, wish it to 



104 CLARE ABBEY. 

be SO ? I may be asking too plain a ques- 
tion. But, if I may ask, can you truly and 
honestly say, that you would desire (not 
thinking of him with the feeling of a sister, 
but simply as an abstract person) that all 
the world should indeed be as much exalted 
above common feelings, common infirmities, 
common errors, as your brother is? For 
myself, I will confess at once that I should 
prefer some mixture of lower ingredients." 

" I don't know what you mean by lower 
ingredients," Camilla said, thoroughly roused; 
" I know I am not very good myself, and 
there ai-e some kinds of goodness which I 
don't like — I wish I did. But if you mean 
anything of badness and wickedness, I scorn 
and hate them." 

He looked at her glowing colour and 
sparkling eyes with an admiration which 
was not unmingled with surprise ; and after 
looking at her for a moment, he fell into 
meditation. 

" You are right," he said at last, after a 
thoughtful silence, " and I only wish I might 
speak as you do." 



CLARE ABBEY. 105 

" And why may you not ? " 

" Because I have no right." 

She blushed and treml3]ed ; a strange fear 
crept over her. Was it possible that he was 
a bad man — such as she had sometimes read 
of? Her countenance showed uneasiness 
and curiosity, but she asked no question. 

" You do not like hypocrisy, do you ? " he 
inquired, reading every thought in her ex- 
pressive countenance, as if it was a book 
before him. 

" No ; I hate it," she said, vehemently. 

" So do I, and therefore I dare not speak 
as you do ; for by so doing I should either 
act the hypocrite, and seem to claim a 
character which I do not deserve — or 
else I should too vehemently condemn my- 
self." 

She looked at him with the same curious, 
uneasy look, but was silent. 

" All men are not formed alike," he con- 
tinued ; " some are weaker and more liable 
to temptation than others. Your brother 
is one in a thousand. He is, I truly believe, 
above temptation, for I have seen him tried. 



106 CLARE ABBEY. 

But for myself, I must confess that no lan- 
guage comes more home to my lips and my 
feelings than the confession of our Church : 
' I have done that which I ought not to do, 
and I have left undone that which I ought to 
have done, and there is no health in me.' " 

He repeated the words slowly, reverently, 
and feelingly ; and Camilla's ideas began to 
change, but still she said nothing. 

"And now you despise me?" he asked, 
watching her countenance. 

" No," she said, at first hesitatingly, then 
more earnestly ; " Oh, no. I don't mind faults 
— I never could. Some of the greatest men 
have had faults. But what I mind is a low, 
mean, dishonourable character." 

" You are right," he repeated again. 
" Faults are but on the surface, and they 
pass away. The natiures of some men are 
so formed as to be exposed to greater and 
stronger temptations than others ; and as I 
think we cannot but hope that the merciful 
Creator of man will judge such natures with 
compassion rather than severity, so, too, we 
should judge our fellow-creatures with a 



CLAEE ABBEY. 107 

merciful, and not a severe judgment. What 
were you going to say?" he inquired, after a 
moment, still watching, still reading her 
countenance. 

" I only thought," she replied, hesitatingly, 
as if she was forced, however unwillingly, to 
answer his questions, and confess to liim all 
that passed through her mind, — " I was sur- 
prised — I thought that you spoke like a cler- 
gyman." 

" I might do so," he replied, smiling, " for 
such was once my appointed and accepted 
destiny. My father, my mother, all my 
friends, in short, were anxious that a clergy- 
man's life should be my choice. I felt no 
strong objection, and I consented." 

"And now have you changed your mind? " 
Camilla asked, -with interest. 

" Yes, I have. My consent was lightly 
given, when I was young and thoughtless, 
and careless about the responsibility of such 
a life. Since I have begun to think, and to 
know myself better, I feel that it is too good 
a life for me. In some ways it is very suit- 
able to my taste ; at some periods I could 



108 CLARE ABBEY. 

preach as zealously, if not as eloquently, as 
St. Paul ; but it would be by fits and starts, 
and when I was weary of it, I fear . . . No, 
it would not do. I told my mother that 
my conscience would not permit my grati- 
fying her wishes, and she has not pressed 
me." 

" Then what are you, or what do you 
mean to be?" 

" I am nothing ; and what I mean to be is 
a question which I ask myself every night 
and every morning, and still it remains un- 
answered. Will you advise me ? " 

" I cannot conceive a doubt," Camilla said, 
smiling. " A soldier, or a sailor — I could be 
nothing else." 

Frank Hargrave shook his head. 

" I wish I could say that such would be 
the life I should choose ; but it would be 
false, and I must confess my insignificance, 
even at the risk . . . ." He stopped. " No, 
I could not be a soldier. It is not, I hope, 
from any want of valour — I have never yet 
known the sensation of fear ; but I am wilful 
and changeable — what some call inconsis- 



CLARE ABBEY. 109 

tenty And he smiled. " 1 could not live 
in obedience and dependence ; I could not 
be at the command of another ; I could not 
even breathe freely the air of heaven, if I 
breathed it in a spot to which the will of 
others condemned me. And now," he said, 
looking at her, " again you despise me." 

" No, I don't indeed. I like to think of a 
brave soldier ; but I know nothing of a sol- 
dier's life. I might dislike it too, if it could 
happen that I was tried ; and, at any rate, 
there are other ways of being great." 

" But not for me. I have never thought 
or dreamed of greatness : the same inde- 
pendence which makes me shrink from sub- 
jection to authority, would make me shrink 
from greatness too. I like quiet and peaceful 
ways, and I fear I like my own will. Great- 
ness is subject to rules, because its nature is 
to live in the sight of man. It is bound 
with an iron yoke ; for it would scarcely 
dare to descend and breathe freely, lest it 
should be called inconsistent." 

" I dare say," Camilla said, thoughtfully. 
" Yes, of course, a great man is watched ; 



110 CLARE ABBEY. 

but still, to be great, one miglit bear a little 
restraint ; it would be worth it." 

" How much you think of greatness ! " he 
said, looking earnestly at her. 

" Do I ? — yes, I think I do. I like very 
fine characters. Don't you care about it in 
the least?" 

" I don't say that. I only say that, for 
myself, I have never dreamed of greatness. 
I have always looked on the atmosphere of 
greatness as too cold and calculating for 
me." He paused, then taking up a book, 
and resting liis eyes upon it wliile he spoke, 
he went on. " I say that I never have 
dreamed of greatness, but I mean that I 
have never done so hitherto. Hitherto, I 
have only thought of pleasing myself; and 
what I might be, if a better object was set 
before me, I do not know. I was a spoiled 
child, and perhaps I am so still ; others have 
thought of me, but hitherto I have never 
thought of others. I can conceive a feeling 
which might change a nature even less likely 
to be changed than mine." And musingly, 
and in a low voice, and not, or barely, as if 



CLARE ABBEY. Ill 

they were addressed to Camilla, he repeated 
the following lines : — 

" Lovest thou greatness ? — I will love it too ; 
For thee, my life shall change its peaceful hue ; 
I '11 climh, with eagle wings, the vaulted sky, 
And if for me capricious Fortune's star 
Shall dimly shine, or sternly frown afar. 
What matter ? in the glory of thine eye 
I '11 read approval, and, contented, die." 

A silence followed. Camilla's head stooped 
lower over her work ; new and strange sen- 
sations were stealing over her, and, unable 
to interpret them, she longed only for soli- 
tude. She knew not what to say ; she 
dreaded lest he should speak again ; and, as 
a means of escape, she turned her head, and 
looked anxiously towards Miss Vincent and 
her companions. 

" Do you like music ? Shall we go to the 
piano-forte?" Frank Hargrave asked, in a 
manner so totally different, that even while 
it relieved it puzzled her. 

She acquiesced willingly, and sat down in 
silence on the chair he placed for her by the 
side of the piano-forte. 

A good deal of lively conversation fol- 



112 CLARE ABBEY. 

lowed ; but in it Frank Hargrave bore but 
little, and Camilla no sliare. She was deep 
in thought, and deep in thought she remained 
when the party broke up. 

Miss Vincent accompanied her to her 
room, to ring her bell, and light her candles, 
and see that all was comfortable ; for Camilla, 
she had soon perceived, was a child indeed 
in all the common occurrences of life. 

Camilla sat down, and allowed her to 
place the candles and move the chairs at her 
pleasure. 

" What sort of a person is Mr. Hargrave ?" 
she inquired at last. " Is he a good sort of 
person ?" 

" A good sort of person ! " Miss Vincent 
said, laughing. '* I don't know what to say, 
— my idea of a good sort of person is some- 
thing so very sedate and hum-drum, — some- 
thing so very different, in short, to Mr. 
Hargrave. But he is very good, I have no 
doubt. I never heard any harm of him, 
except thnt young ladies are rather too apt 
to fall in love with him; and that, as liis 
mother says, is their fault, not. his." 



CLARE ABBEY. 113 

" Is he so very much inclined to fall 
in love ? " Camilla asked, and asked un- 
easily. 

" No, far from it. I did not say he was. 
He is very fastidious ; and his mother says 
it would give her real pleasure to see him 
truly in love. I only said that young ladies 
were rather too apt to fall in love with 
him." Unconsciously Camilla raised her 
head, with a flushed cheek and a proud 
glance. " You see," Miss Vincent continued, 
playing with the extinguisher of her candle- 
stick, " he is very agreeable, which is 
scarcely his fault, and very good-looking, 
which certainly is not his fault ; and young 
ladies — some young ladies — are flattered by 
his notice ; and the end is, they lose their 
hearts. But it is their fault, not his. I am 
sm-e — and I know him pretty well — that he 
never would give any one real cause to think 
he liked them, — was in love with them, I 
mean, — unless he was so. But good-night : 
it is late." And as Camilla's maid entered 
the room, she left it. 

" How pale you look, ma*am 1 You must 

VOL. II. I 



114 CLARE ABBEY. 

be very tired," was the remark of her at- 
tendant, 

" Yes, I am rather tired. Don't be long 
brushing my hair. I think the sea air tires 
me." And she sat again in profound ab- 
straction. 



CLARE ABBEY. 115 



CHAPTER V. 

, ... He says he loves my daughter, 
I think so too ; for never gazed the moon 
Upon the water, as he '11 stand and read 
As 'twere my daughter's eyes. 

The Winter's Tale. 

The drawing lessons began the next day, 
and as the master was extremely attentive, 
and the lessons were prolonged for three or 
four hours, it was natural that the pupils 
should make great progress. And they did 
so. Camilla had a good deal of genius ; 
not for drawing in particular, but she had 
that turn of mind which seizes on ideas, and 
by quickness and originality of perception 
makes them its own. If she had hitherto 
profited but little in her studies, it was for 
want of patience and perseverance, not 
capacity ; and perseverance was not want- 
ing now. Miss Vincent drew tolerably 
well — she did most things well up to a 
i2 



116 CLARE ABBEY. 

certain point — and she had sufficient taste 
to appreciate Frank Hargrave's superior 
talent, and to profit by it. 

Few pupils have had so entertaining a 
teacher. At first he watched over them 
incessantly, but varied his instructions by a 
fund of conversation of the most interesting 
and amusing kind — then he read to them, at 
short intervals, Httle pieces of his o^ti 
selection, well chosen and well read. On 
the morning of the fourth lesson, he said 
such constant watchfulness was no longer 
necessary, and placing before the two a 
rough bold sketch prepared for their special 
instruction, he sat down opposite to them, 
and commenced a reading of a more con- 
tinuous kind. 

For the morning's entertainment he had 
chosen Miss Bailhe's beautifiil play of Count 
Basil, and Camilla's most intimate acquaint- 
ance ; the most watchful student of her 
character could not have chosen better, so 
far as her tastes were concerned. There is 
a chivalrous spirit in the play, in the Love, 
as well as in the Love of glory, which pecu- 



CLARE ABBEY. 117 

liarly adapted it to the strongest features of 
her disposition ; and if in former times the 
latter passion would have touched her most, 
a change was coming over her, which made 
the former no less interesting now. 

Frank Hargrave read well, and more than 
well. It was scarcely reading ; it was 
nearer acting ; and as the play proceeded, 
and as raising his eyes again and again, he 
ever met Camilla's glance, now sparkling 
with excitement, now tearful with emotion, 
he gathered increase of power, increase of 
passion, till he and his hearers alike were 
carried away. 

At the conclusion of the play, he sat for 
a few moments silent ; then, closing the 
book, he said, " Such is the power of 
Love." 

"And yet it is a power Miss St. Maur 
doubts," Miss Vincent said, laughing; "she 
has told me so again and again. It is pos- 
sible her opinion may be changed, for I have 
certainly caught her weeping over these 
sorrows of love ; but it is not very long ago 
since she doubted whether .... What have 



118 CLARE ABBEY. 

you not said, Mss St. Maur ? for I may mis- 
take yoiir opinions." 

" Do you doubt the power of love ? " 
Frank Hargrave inquired, fixing his eyes 
earnestly on Camilla as he spoke. 

" I don't know," she replied, bending 
her head over her drawing. A moment 
afterwards, however, raising her eyes and 
speaking with some vehemence, she added, 
" Yes, I think I do doubt the existence of 
anv power which could, in real Hfe, make a 
brave man forget glory and duty, as Count 
Basil did." 

" I was right you, see," Miss Vincent said, 
mockingly ; " Miss St. Maur not only doubts, 
but actually does not understand what the 
power of love may be. I wish I could teach 
her better things — I confess I have tried, 
and in vain." 

" You AATong her, I think," Frank Har- 
grave said, watching Camilla as he spoke; 
" Miss St. Maur may agree mth the senti- 
ment expressed in Lander's emphatic words 
''Love is a secondary passion in those who 
love most ; a primary in those who love least. 



CLARE ABBEY. 119 

He who is insjnred hy it in a great degree^ 
is inspired hy honour in a greater.' That, I 
think, was all she meant to express. Have I 
explained your meaning truly?" he inquired, 
and he waited for an answer. 

"Yes, very well, exactly;" she replied, 
hastily raising her eyes and looldng down 
again. 

" I don't understand your meaning," Miss 
Vincent said ; " at least, if I do, I think I 
could disprove it by a thousand examples ; 
witness the noble, chivalrous, ambitious 
Count Basil himself. But I won't stay to 
argue mth you, for I promised mamma to 
write to the housekeeper at Carrington, 
when I had done my drawing, and it is 
done;" and throwing it on the table, and 
without noticing Camilla's look of uneasi- 
ness, she left the room. 

That Frank Hargrave's society was plea- 
sant to her, — that his power over her was 
a strange one, none could doubt; but she 
never found herself alone with him without 
a feeling of uneasiness, which changed her 
into a different being. The feeling was on 



120 CLARE ABBEY. 

this occasion increased by the remembrance 
of the subject under discussion. 

But her uneasiness was needless, for ob- 
serving her embarrassment, his only desire 
was to dispel it. Pushing the book from 
before him, and taking Miss Vincent's draw- 
ing in his hand, he began to comment upon 
it in playful and rather sarcastic terms. 

"Don't you admire it?" Camilla asked, 
recovering herself, and looking up with 
surprise. " It seems to me so very pretty ; 
I only wish I could ever hope to draw half 
as well." 

" You already draw a thousand times 
better," he said quietly and sincerely, not 
complimentarily. 

She laughed and shook her head. 

" I mean what I say," he continued, and 
he came towards her to examine her draw- 
ing. "Miss Vincent puts on her colours 
smoothly, and gives a very finished look to 
her sketches ; but there could not be a 
question that there is more genius in that 
one drawing of yours than in all Miss Vin- 
cent's put together." 



CLARE ABBEY. 121 

"But what is the use of genius, then," 
Camilla said, laughing, "if it is only to 
make a mess and look very ugly ? It would 
be better to be without it." 

"Now do you see what I mean?" he 
cried, taking the two drawings, and placing 
them together at a distance ; " do you under- 
stand what I mean by genius, now ?" 

Perhaps Camilla internally confessed that 
in the distance her rough bold colouring did 
put IVIiss Vincent's more minute workman- 
ship to shame ; for she said no more : but 
as she held out her hand for her drawing, 
inquired, " Don't you like Miss Vincent?" 

"Why should you think I did not? "he 
said, looking at her smilingly. 

" I don't exactly know ; I thought you 
did till to-day, but I fancied just now that 
you did not like her." 

" Do you like her ?" 

" Oh ! yes, very much." 

" But do you love her ? " 

"No," Camilla said hesitatingly, "I don't 
think I do." 

" No more do I!" he continued laughingly, 



122 CLARE ABBEY. 

" and never could nor can conceive any one's 
lo\ing lier. She is handsome, I think, and 
agreeable in a certain way, and very kind 
and good-natured; but that is all. I may 
not do her justice ; I don't know her well 
enough to pretend that I fnlly imderstand 
her character, but she seems to me, judging 
from the surface, to be both frivolous and 
worldly, and I should fancy she might be a 
dangerous companion." 

" You speak exactly like Reginald," Ca- 
milla said thoughtfully. She was thinking 
not of him^ but of Miss Vincent and of 
Reginald's strong prejudice against her ; 
but to him her thoughts were drawn when 
she saw the flash of pleasure that lighted 
his eyes and flushed his cheek. 

"Do you know," he said, stooping down 
a little, " that you have paid me the highest 
compliment that I ever have received, or 
could wish to receive ?" 

She blushed, but attempted to laugh. 
" That was not your opinion a few days ago ; 
you did not wish to be like Reginald then." 



CLARE ABBEY. 123 

He made no immediate answer, but 
placed himself behind her, and commented 
on her drawing before he said, in a lower 
voice, " I confess I have changed, in a 
degree. May I tell you why ? " 

" Oh, no ! " she said hurriedly; "of course, 
people may change;" and she nervously 
dashed her brush into the glass of w^ater 
(no longer harmless) that stood beside her, 
splashing it over her drawing in her tremor. 

He quickly took the brush from her hand, 
and remedied the evil, and then calmly 
returned to his instructions, till Mrs, and 
Miss Vincent re-entered the room. 



Mrs. Vincent was called by all her ac- 
quaintance a kind motherly wom^n; and 
she was so, but a most injudicious one. 
Most mothers — even injudicious mothers — 
would have seen the danger of such an 
intercourse as that now established between 
Frank Hargrave and her daughter and 
Camilla, but Mrs. Vincent did not think 
of it. Governed in all such points by her 



124 CLARE ABBEY. 

daughter, she had acquiesced at once when 
permission Avas asked for the proposed plan, 
and having acquiesced, allowed things to 
take their course. She was accustomed to 
singing lessons with her daughter ; there 
was nothing very new therefore in the 
present arrangement. Mr. Vincent, more 
observant, made an effort at remon- 
strance. 

■ " Miss St. Maur is very young, my dear, 
and she and Mr. Hargrave are a great deal 
together. I hope nothing will come of it 
that Lord and Lady Vere may disapprove.'* 

'' AVhat should come of it," Mrs. Vincent 
replied, laughing, " but a httle flirtation, at 
tlie very worst? you are so fond of inter- 
ference for nothing. Do you remember 
how uneasy you were when Mr. Langley 
came to practise with Sophia last year? 
but what harm did it do? You confessed 
you were mistaken then." 

" I confessed I was mistaken then ! " he 
repeated solemnly. " Nevertheless . . . ." 

" Oh, pray don't make a fuss about it ! 
Consider what a dull life the poor little 



CLARE ABBEY. 125 

thing leads at home. I am sure no word 
of mine shall spoil her pleasure here." 

" She leads a dull life at home, and there- 
fore the more " but a speech of con- 
siderable wisdom and observation from !Mr. 
Vincent was lost to posterity from the in- 
difference of his wife, who did not pause 
to hear its conclusion. She opened the 
door into the adjoining room, where a draw- 
ing lesson was taking place, and was imme- 
diately appealed to by her daughter for her 
decision, on a point which put her wisdom 
and judiciousness to the test. 

Among Frank Hargrave's drawings some 
little crayon portraits, cleverly and prettily 
done, had been found by Miss Vincent- 
Extremely delighted with them, she had 
first called upon him to attempt her like- 
ness; then, on second thoughts, had sug- 
gested that Camilla should sit to him. 
Frank Hargrave caught eagerly at the pro- 
posal, but on observing Camilla's very 
evident distaste, had refrained from pressing 
it. Miss Vincent, however, conscious of his 
wish, and supposing that Camilla's shyness 



126 CLARE ABBEY. 

was only common shyness (perhaps a little 
put on, as she had sometimes observed among 
her acquaintance), held to her point, and 
with many arguments was endeavouring to 
overcome her reluctance. It was not over- 
come at the time of Mrs. Vincent's entrance, 
for shrinking and embarrassment might 
plainly be read on her countenance. But Mrs. 
Vincent could not resist her daughter's ap- 
peal ; or, if she had resisted, being unable to 
conceive reluctance to have a portrait painted 
gratis (a point, rich as she was, far from 
indifferent to her), gave her decided opinion 
in favour of the proposal, and so it was 
settled. Wilful and wayward as Camilla 
was at home, her wilfulness was that of 
habit, not of nature. She was at the com- 
mand of those who chose to command her, 
as her submission to ]\Iiss Vincent had from 
the first plainly proved ; and now, like a 
puppet in their hands, she acquiesced in 
their ^dll. 

And so, the live-long day, she and Frank 
Hargarve were together. In the morning 
there were the drawing lessons ; in the 



CLARE ABBEY. 127 

afternoon the portrait painting ; in the cool 
evening there were wanderings along the 
beautiful sea-shore, or excursions on the 
water, prolonged till the moon was high in 
the heavens ; and (though seldom entirely 
alone,) Frank Hargrave was ever at her 
side ; — so much uncertainty only in his 
attention as prevented comments he did 
not desire to excite ; and as recalled now 
and then, when she had time for thought, 
the warning received (a warning not in- 
tended, yet accepted as such) from Miss 
Vincent's Hps. 

But there was truly little time for 
thought : the days passed as in a dream, — 
the excitement never died away, and so they 
came to the conclusion of the fortnight and 
to the last day but one of Camilla's stay. 

On the afternoon of that day the portrait 
was to be concluded ; the whole of the next 
was to be devoted to an excursion to some 
beautiful ruins, which Camilla had much 
wished to see. 

The drawing had been attempted in a 
more ambitious stvle than was common to 



128 CLARE ABBEY. 

him, and so had been prolonged from day 
to day; but Frank Hargrave was clever, 
and failure was a word scarcely allowed in 
his vocabulary. The sittings had passed 
pleasantly, for he had himself taken pains 
that nothing should occur to cause embar- 
rassment to Camilla. j\Irs. and Miss Vincent 
had remained in the room, and Miss Vin- 
cent had generally read aloud at his request, 
when the more minute parts of the picture 
occupied his own attention. 

On this last day, however. Miss Vincent 
was out, and ^Irs. Vincent was suddenly 
called by visitors into the adjoining room. 

Frank Hargrave stopped her as she was 
hurrying away. " I know you have thought 
me whimsical and ridiculous, if not arrogant 
and presumptuous, for rehising to hear com- 
ments or criticisms upon my performance. 
But the fact is, that criticisms, to me at least, 
are utterly useless, till the idea is thoroughly 
worked out ; — they only ruffle my temper, 
and make me appear like an arrogant bear. 
Now, however, the picture \vill be finished 
in half an hour, and I shall be most grateful 



CLARE ABBEY. 129 

for any criticisms you can make, and the 
more the better." 

^Irs. Vincent stood behind him, and was 
sincere as well as warm in her praise. 

" I Avish I could find a fault, Mr. Ilar- 
grave, for the sake of sho^dng a little dis- 
cernment, but I am soTTj to say I cannot. 
You have made a pretty picture and a 
perfect likeness, and what can one say more ? 
One thing more, however, I will say, not to 
you, but to !Miss St. Maur," and she turned 
with a smile to Camilla ; " ]Mr. Hargrave 
has made a very pretty pictm^e, my dear 
Miss St. Maur; but not^Adthstanding, he has 
not flattered you," and nodding her head 
with kind admiration at Camilla, she left the 
room. 

A silence followed the closing of the door. 
The close intercourse of the past days had 
not been without effect on Camilla's mind. 
They had deepened and strengthened the 
attraction ^yith which Frank Hargrave had 
from the first attracted her — and in the same 
degree had dispelled the fear with which 
she had originally resisted the attraction. If 

VOL. II. K 



130 CLARE ABBEY. 

now she sat silent and uneasy — ^if she desired 
to break the silence, yet found in every sub- 
ject a meaning which made it dangerous — it 
was simply from shyness, and proceeded 
rather from confidence than doubt. 

While she sat thus timid and shrinking^ 
wishing yet dreading her companion would 
speak, he continued his work, and as if to 
relieve her, without raising his eyes ; at 
length he spoke. 

" I have almost finished my work, and 
for the first time in my life, for I am not 
naturally persevering, I think of its con- 
clusion only Avith regret." 

He gave a single glance, then withdrew 
it again. 

If Camilla had once had a childish pro- 
pensity to flirt, that time was past. It mitst 
be past when true feelmg is excited; for 
what are flirtations and sentimental convers- 
ations but an acting of that on the surface, 
which, in its intensity, " has that within 
which passeth show?" Far, therefore, from 
desiring to enter on such a conversation 
now, her only thought was to escape from it; 



CLARE ABBEY. 131 

yet she paused ; fearful even in escaping to 
understand too much. 

"I should like to take likenesses," she 
said at last, not answering his speech, yet not 
entirely changing the subject; "it must be 
very interesting, but I suppose very difficult." 

" Not very difficult, I tlmik," he replied ; 
"it is of course more or less difficult to do 
am-thing well; but the mere act of taking a 
likeness is not difficult. It is a pecuhar 
talent which all, even all artists, do not 
possess ; but it is not a talent of a high 
order in itself, as village sign-posts may tell 
us. It is not difficult," he added, after a 
moment's thought ; " but in some cases, I 
think it is dangerous." 

" More than any other kind of painting ?" 
Camilla said, innocently, supposing him to 
allude to some physical dangers to which 
artists are exposed. 

" Yes," he replied, a scarcely perceptible 

smile playing over his mouth ; " much more. 

Can you not fancy what danger might in 

some cases spring from it?" He paused and 

k2 



132 CLARE ABBEY. 

glanced at her for a moment ; then, uncertain 
whether or not she understood him, returned 
to his occupation. 

" Do you know the story of the Monk of 
Camaldoli? " he inquired. 

" No," she replied, shaking her head and 
playing with some flowers she held in her 
hand ; for though she was not sure what he 
meant, she felt nervously afraid that some- 
thing was coming. 

" It is a pretty story, but as it is much 
prettier in poetry than in simple quickly told 
prose, I must try and remember some lines I 
once heard. I am not sure that I can repeat 
them, but I will try ;" and after a little re- 
flection, with his usual expressive manner and 
deep feeling, he began the following lines : 

The world shut out — the vows eternal spoken, 
By which the latest links to earth are broken ; 
The live-long day passed in the lonely cell, 
Or where the hymns of praise to Heaven swell, 
With drooping eye that humbly seeks the ground 
With closed lip, from whence proceeds no sound ; 
Thus severed from thy kind, from thine own will, 
Hast thou with mortal man communion still ? 

Yes, doubt it not ; though parted from the strife 
Of earthly tumult, feeling yields not life ; 



CLARE ABBEY. 133 

Yes, doubt it not ; this lonely, silent heart, 
Thus from all human solace drawn apart, 
The power of earth's affections still can prove 
And even here we own the might of Love. 

Follow him to his cell — there bending down, 

Ask what the work his wasted fingers own ? 

With eye that wanders not, with earnest gaze, 

Ask what the ceaseless labour of his days ? 

He will not speak ! then watch his pencil trace 

Those features soft and fair, — that young, sweet face, — 

The brow so clear ; so deep, so blue the eye. 

Madonna-like in its still purity. 

All fresh, serene, and calm, and yet the while 

Entrancing with a lightly dawning smile. 

Whence is she ? is't a dream, that day by day 

He strives to rescue from mere fancy's sway ; 

Is it a glimpse of heaven before the time. 

To wliich his earthly pencil strives to climb ? 

Nay, not a dream — too speaking and too bright ; 

That waking smile — it must have blest his sight, 

He must have met those eyes so full, so clear, 

'Tis more than beauty that is breathing there; 

A chord aroused from memory's long-hushed strain. 

The past, the living past, called back again. 

'Tis love — man's love, and, oh! how deep, how true. 

In the far convent's calm, blooming anew, 

How must he once have gazed — how drank that spell, 

How worshipped once — ah ! e'en perchance, too well ! 

And who was she, the spirit of the past ? 

Still o'er the world her beauty does she cast, 

Walks she in glory with that angel face. 

Loved, cherished, blest, and blessing with its grace ; 

Or all that heavenly dawn, that faultless bloom, 

Lies it unseen and mouldering in the tomb ? 



134 CLARE ABBEY. 

Vainly we ask. He spoke not of the love 
Which time had not removed, nor could remove ; 
His hand first traced, then gazed his blissful eye — 
His tale is told ! — There he remained to die ! 

Camilla listened breathlessly. She had a 
very youthful appetite for tales, and the 
double interest which Frank Hargrave gave 
to all he spoke, made her listen to this pre- 
sent one with an eagerness which carried 
her thoughts from herself and from the pecu- 
liar circumstances under which it was told. 

" How very strange," she said, as he con- 
cluded. " It is such a pretty story that I 
hope it is a true one. Do you think it is ? " 

" I believe it is true, and I see no reason 
to doubt it. If he was a painter, there was 
nothing strange. Many have painted from 
memory — many do so still ; and if he was 
not a painter, yet there is nothing beyond 
belief It would be," he added, with a 
shght smile, " only another instance of the 
power of love. Love has made many more 
curious transformations than changing a poor 
monk into a painter." 

. "I think it curious still," Camilla said, 
but she w^as growing uneasy again. 



CLARE ABBEY. 135 

" Do you now see what I meant by the 
danger of which I spoke ? " he began again, 
after a silence of a few moments. " Do you 
think the poor monk's employment in his 
cell would have made it more easy for him 
to banish the remembrance of the past ? If 
he had wished to do so, do you think, after 
those days of earnest contemplation, it would 
have been possible ? " 

She made no answer, nor did he wait for 
one. Suddenly rising, he turned towards 
her the portrait of herself, and placed him- 
self at her side. 

It was the first time she had been allowed 
to see it ; and while startled at its likeness, 
she was pleased and flattered by its beauty. 
"With a deep blush, she contemplated it, and 
though fearful and agitated, could not but 
say, "It is a great deal too pretty for me." 

But Frank Hargrave was not in the mood 
for mere compliments. He scarcely heard 
what she said, but bending towards her, 
murmured, " Do you think it mil assist me 
in forgetting these last few bright days of 
happiness, if indeed you tell me to forget? " 



136 CLARE ABBEY. 

She turned away her head and trembled ; 
but her trembling was but with confusion — 
there was no shrinking in it, and in another 
moment her eyes might have been raised 
with full confidence to his ; — but Miss Vincent 
suddenly appeared and interrupted them. 

Quick to discover at any time the slightest 
symptoms of a flirtation, Camilla's counte- 
nance was not likely to escape her now. 
She immediately retreated, and with a pecu- 
liar movement which seemed to say jestingly, 
" I go because I see that I am not wanted," 
hurriedly closed the door. 

Frank Hargrave's eyes were fixed on Ca- 
milla. He was intently studying her coun- 
tenance, and gathering from it the signs that 
might plainly be read. But he had no wish 
to incur Mss A^incent's witticisms, or to be 
forced by her faster and further than he 
chose to go, and immediately following her, 
and throwing open the door, he recalled 
her. 

" I was afraid I was in the way," she said, 
with an arch smile. 

" By no means," he replied quietly ; 



CLARE ABBEY. 137 

" Miss St. Maur's picture is just finished, and 
I am anxious to have your opinion upon it." 

After Miss Vincent's unquahfied admir- 
ation had been given, and Yerv justly given 
to the picture, she turned to Camilla. " My 
object in coming home, Mss St. Maur, was 
to tell you that ^Irs. Wetherall has decided 
on giving a dance to-night. You heard her 
talking about it yesterday ; or perhaps you 
did not hear, for I believe you were better 
employed — but she i<;a5 discussing the pos- 
sibility yesterday, and gave it up in despair. 
It appears, however, that in the course of 
the afternoon she found that there were a 
great number of new arrivals, and, as is 
always the case ^^dth her, that the new 
arrivals were all, or almost all, acquaint- 
ances. She immediately set to work, and 
her list of guests is very respectable, I assure 
you. Twenty couple of dancers, at least. 
She desired me to give her compliments to 
you, and to tell you, with numberless pretty 
messages, how happy she should be if you 
would grace her ball." 

" I should like it very much," Camilla 



138 CLARE ABBEY. 

said, "for I have never even seen a 
dance." 

" Never ! " Frank Hargrave said, looking 
at her with a smile. 

" That is not to be wondered at," re- 
marked Miss Vincent. " Miss St. Maur is 
only just seventeen; she has only just at- 
tained a right to be out." 

" Still never even to have seen a ball must 
be a very peculiar feeling," Frank Hargrave 
said, musingly; " the idea carries me back to 
days, that I sigh to think I have forgotten." 

" It carries me far beyond my own me- 
mory," laughingly remarked Miss Vincent ; 
" for I came out when I was two years old. 
I was very dissipated in my youth." 

" So I should have fancied." 

" Why ? " Miss Vincent inquired shortly, 
and a little offended. 

" I only meant to say," Frank Hargrave 
observed, " that I should have supposed your 
knowledge of the world to have begun 
early." 

" I believe you don't mean anything very 
civil : but your observation is just. I have 



CLARE ABBEY. 139 

lived in the world since I was two years 
old, and I very early began to make it my 
•study. I have heard many girls talk of 
their first ball as an era in their life ; but 
it is an era I do not remember at all. 
You have a great advantage over me, Miss 
St. Maur ; and I beg, if there is anything 
remarkable in yom- feelings, that you will 
Avrite a liistory of them for my benefit, and 
for ]\ir. Hargrave's also, for I am sure, if I 
made an early acquaintance with the world, 
he made an earlier." 

" Perhaps not," was all he rephed, but 
he approached the window where Camilla 
was leaning as he spoke ; and while Miss 
Vincent hurried from them, he said, " If 
there is nothing remarkable in your first 
ball, mil you intrust it to my hands to 
make it at least a happy one ? " 

Camilla blushed and turned away, but as 
she followed Miss Vincent, the thoughts of 
the evening, and hope and happiness, were 
making her heart bound with excitement. 

While she was dressing for the evening's 
party. Miss Vincent entered her room, and 



140 CLAEE ABBEY. 

laid on her table in silence, but mth a 
peculiar smile on her lips, a bouquet of the 
choicest flowers. Wlien she entered Mrs. 
Wetherall's room, her eyes downcast but 
sparkling, her cheeks glowing with mingled 
hope and fear, Frank Hargrave stood ready 
to watch her entrance with looks of earnest 
admiration, and to be the first to approach 
her side. 

She excited a great degree of attention; 
for the style of her beauty, its singular de- 
gree of simple grace, blended with a high- 
born and stately air, was uncommon in the 
society to which Mrs. Wetherall belonged. 
Wherever her eyes turned she might have 
read admiration ; she might have heard the 
language of admiration, had she so pleased 
it, from many lips ; but she heard it not, 
heeded it not. Her thoughts were centred 
on one alone, — her ears filled A^dth sounds 
which made all other language poor ; for 
then and there her last doubts died away, as 
Frank Hargrave, in somewhat vague, per- 
haps, yet not the less earnest and passionate 
terms, confessed that he loved her. 



CLARE ABBEY. 141 



CHAPTER VI. 

. , . . How joy fulfilled 
Makes the heart tremble ! 

Edwin the Fair. 

How fading are the joys we dote upon ! 

Like apparitions seen and gone ; 
But those which soonest take their flight 

Are the most exquisite and strong ; 
Like angel's visits, short and bright, 

Mortality's too weak to bear them long. 

John Morris. 

Camilla returned home, though wearied 
in body by unusual dissipation, in a trance 
and wild delusion of happiness ; and in a 
delusion of happiness she woke the following 
morning. It was delusion; for a little, a 
very httle thought must have disturbed, if 
not banished it ; but, though a delusion, it 
was very real for the time. It was like the 
unclouded ecstatic happiness of a child, no 
thought of past, present, or future agitating 



142 CLAEE ABBEY. 

its existence, — no reflection laying a hand 
upon it to give it consciousness of being. 

It was late when she awoke from a sweet 
and dreamless sleep ; and, fearful of being 
late for the destined expedition, she hurried 
through her dressing. No time was allowed 
for meditation or self-reflection, — no thoughts 
admitted but such as were excited by the 
bright sunshiny day, and the soft breeze 
playing from the sea, — thoughts as bright 
and sunny ,-^hopes that like the breeze per- 
haps were to die away. 

Breakfast was nearly over when she en- 
tered the room, and Frank Hargrave, ready 
to accompany them, was standing in the 
window. Conscious, blushing, and trembling, 
Camilla scarcely dared to raise her eyes, and 
sat down suddenly silent, in the midst of an 
apology for her lateness. 

" You had a right to sleep after your first 
Imll," Mrs. Vincent said, good-naturedly. 
" You are not accustomed to late hours, as 
Sopliia is." 

" I hope JMiss St. Maur enjoyed herself?" 
inquired j\Ir. Vincent. 



CLAEE ABBEY. 143 

" Very much, thank you," she replied, 
with a deepening colour. 

^ You must have enjoyed yourself, my 
dear Miss St. Maiu*, if giving pleasure to 
others and receiving admiration yourself can 
cause enjoyment. I don't know how many 
conquests you made ; but I am sure that we 
shall not be the only people who will 
think with regret of your return home to- 
morrow." 

Her return home ! — Her colour first rose, 
then faded away at the words, and she grew 
suddenly grave. It was the first thought of 
her home since Frank Hargrave's confession, 
since his words of love had fallen upon and 
blessed her ear ; and with the thought came 
shadows over the hitherto shadowless bliss. 

" You are eating notliing, my dear Miss 
St. Maur," Mrs. Vincent observed, remarking 
Camilla's untasted breakfast. " Pray, don't 
think we are in any hurry. If we are off by 
half-past eleven, it will be time enough and 
plenty." 

" Oh, I have quite done, thank you," she 
said, jumping up, as if happy to be released. 



144 CLARE ABBEY. 

" I suppose I had better get ready as fast as 
I can." And she left the room 

" You must take care of Miss St. Maur, 
Sophia," remarked Mr. Vincent, anxiously; 
" she does not look very strong. That rapid 
change of colouring is a sjmiptom of weak- 
ness, and should be attended to." 

" There may be other causes for it, papa." 
Miss Vincent said, laughing, with a glance at 
Frank Hargrave ; but he paid no attention 
to the remark. 

" I hope not," Mr. Vincent said, gravely ; 
and he too glanced, but with as little suc- 
cess, tOAvards the window where Frank Har- 
grave stood. 

A shadow was still on Camilla's brow 
when she retm^ned to the drawing-room. 
The word '^ home " had awakened reflection, 
and between her and her previous happiness 
Reginald seemed to stand, with reproach in 
his countenance. Never came the thought 
of his displeasure without a pang; and in 
proportion to the greatness of her happiness 
was the sense of that displeasure now. 
Vague it was and shadowy, even like the 



CLARE ABBEY. 145 

trance of thoughtless joy in which slie had 
been reposing ; but a mist was falHng round 
her, light clouds gathering, — she was no 
longer in paradise. 

- Frank Hargrave approached her : he saw 
the shade, and with earnest w^ords and magic 
power endeavoured to chase it away. And 
he was successful ; the clouds dispersed, the 
rown of Reginald melted into air. 

They descended the stairs together, and 
stood together within the door of the hotel, 
while Mrs. Vincent, who had preceded them, 
arranged some parcels in the barouche which 
was to convey them to their destination. 

" Now, Miss St. Maur," she called at last ; 
and Camilla retreated a few steps to summon 
Miss Vincent. When she returned again to 
the door of the hotel, she paused with sudden 
surprise ; for within three yards of the house 
stood Ernest De Grey. 

He looked so strange, so unlike himself, 
that for one moment she even doubted the 
evidence of her senses ; but the next instant 
there flashed before her the remembrance of 
when and where that gaze of sadness had 

VOL. II. T, 



146 CLARE ABBEY. 

met her before, and swift as thought, with 
more than her usual courteousness and grace, 
she hastened down the steps, and held out 
her hand. The new feelings springuig within 
her had taught her repentance, had taught 
her to feel for him; and, with anxious 
kindness, she desired only to atone for the 
heedlessness of her former conduct, and 
the petulance of their last farewell. 

"Are you here, Mr. De Grey?" she said, 
in her sweet frank voice, and with her sweet 
smile. " I did not know you had any 
thoughts of coming." 

He murmured a reply ; but he received 
her advances, she thought, coldly, and with 
something of hauteur she drew back. 

The gravity of his countenance increased, 
and for a moment he stood irresolute ; then 
following her, he said hurriedly — and the 
very sound of his voice was altered ; " Are 
you going out? — could you let me speak 

to vou for a moment ?" 

t/ 

A sudden and strange vision floated before 
her eyes. Reginald had returned to Clare 
Abbey; Ernest had told him of what had 



CLARE ABBEY. 147 

passed between them. Reginald had been 
displeased, — had been desirous to for- 
ward Ernest's wishes ; and now armed with 
his — ^perhaps with her father's — authority, 
he came to press his suit. 

The idea made her draw herself up with 
all her brother's stateliness ; — " I am just 
going out \vith Mrs. Vincent," she said 
haughtily, " and I really cannot detain her.'* 

" Mamma is in no hurry," Miss Vincent 
remarked, contemplating the scene with 
a look of much amusement ; for to her 
fertile fancy it was perfectly comprehen- 
sible. 

" I would rather not detain her," Camilla 
repeated determinedly. 

Ernest seemed scarcely to hear her words, 
or to heed her haughtiness. He seemed 
at a loss how to act. Suddenly, however, 
he turned and shook hands with Miss Vin- 
cent, then going down the steps approached 
the carriage where Llrs. Vincent was already 
seated. 

His back was turned towards them, and 
his words were unheard ; but Mrs. Vin- 
l2 



148 CLARE ABBEY. 

cent's countenance was visible. She became 
extremely grave ; and, after a moment's 
thought, got out of the carriage and ap- 
proached Camilla. 

" Don't talk of detaining me, my dear 
Miss St. Maur ; for it really is of no con- 
sequence whatever. Mr. De Grey has got a 
message for you, and I think you had better 
go back into the house and talk to him. 
Come, my dear!" and kindly laying her 
hand on Camilla's arm, she led her back 
to the drawing-room, and left her there. 

Camilla submitted, because she did not 
know how to refuse ; but she seated her- 
self with a reluctant and haughty an*. One 
idea only was in her mind. 

When the door was closed, and he found 
himself alone with her, Ernest's look of 
gravity vanished : it had been assumed 
only to cover other feelings ; but his dis- 
tress was so evident, that there was com- 
passion as well as petulance in Camilla's 
voice and manner when she addressed liim. 

"What have you got to say, Mr. De Grey? 
I am quite ready to hear it now." 



CLARE ABBEY. * 149 

"Nothing for myself," he replied, a sud- 
den idea crossing his mind, — a sudden 
flush overspreading his face ; "do not fear ; 
such rash presumptuous words as once you 
heard shall never pass my lips again," He 
paused ; " I wish it was so ; I wish that 
what I have to tell was such as would cause 
grief only to me. I am sent from Clare 
Abbey to fetch you — to beg you, at least, 
to return without delay." 

"And why?" Camilla said, haughtily; 
but she turned away her head with a crim- 
son blush as she spoke. She paused not 
to consider the improbability of Ernest's 
being sent to separate her from Frank 
Hargrave. Conscience only, wakeful and 
reproachful, pointed to her separation from 
him as the one ill to be dreaded, — her 
acquaintance with him as the one evil to 
be condemned. 

Ernest made no answer, but coming 
nearer to her, bent over her with a look 
of intense and tearful compassion. " I am 
trying not to frighten you," he said, in a 
inhering voice, " and yet I shall but frighten 



150 CLARE ABBEY. 

you the more ; I had better tell you all at 
once ; " yet still he paused, as if to watch 
for a sign of fear, as if to soften, — that 
first shock of evil tidings beneath which 
some young hearts have trembled all their 
days. Seeing at length her eyes opening 
and her cheeks beginning to grow pale, he 
went on hurriedly, " Your brother has had 
a fall, — a bad fall, and he is ill, — very ill." 

The cry of agony that rang through the 
house pierced more hearts than one. 

" Dead!'' she cried, convulsively clasping 
her hands. "Reginald is dead!" for if 
the evil forebodings of the young and 
thoughtless are slow to be aroused ; once 
ai'oused, there is no limit to their terror. 

"No! no!" Ernest said, tenderly and 
hurriedly ; " he is not dead : he lives ; he 
himself sent me to you, — ^he is longing to 
see you." 

"Then dying!'" exclaimed the same pierc- 
ing voice. 

"No, no, indeed! you may trust me, I 
Imve told you all, — I will tell you all. Can 
you now listen to me calmly?" and -without 



CLARE ABBEY. 151 

waiting for an answer, he sat down beside 
her, and gently and soothingly began his 
sorrowful tale. 

But when told with every alleviation 
which his conscience would permit, with 
all the tenderness of which his tender 
nature was capable, it was a tale to harrow 
up her soul, and freeze her young blood 
within her. 

With tearless eyes, with a blanched 
cheek, with strong composure, she listened 
to him. The words he spoke conveyed no 
meaning to her ears ; but when, hurrying 
from the sad incidents of his tale, he began 
to speak of A6»j9^, the unnatural calmness 
gave way, and tlnrowing her arms over the 
head of the sofa near which she sat she 
wept bitterly. There are some hopes which 
convey a sense of reality of woe no crush- 
ing narrative of ill can give. Hope — what 
hope ! — that he from whom she had parted 
in the vigour of life, the pride of health, 
the bloom of beauty, might linger on a few 
short years a pale, mangled, helpless, hope- 
less form. 



152 CLARE ABBEY. 

Her stony calmness had terrified Ernest ; 
with joy he had seen her tears, and he had 
moved away and left her to herself that 
she might weep in peace ; but, wTung to 
the heart at witnessing such tears from her, 
whose bitterest had hitherto been but as 
the dewdrop on the flower, a few minutes 
only passed before he was again at her side. 

"Will you not try and command your- 
self?" he said, stooping tenderly over her, 
and taking her hand with a brother's affec- 
tion ; " will you not for his sake exert all your 
strength? — he is longing to see you; think 
what a comfort you may be to him ! " But she 
drew her hand away, and his words seemed 
but to increase the agony of her grief. 

"Your brother," he began in a more 
serious tone, for unaccustomed to grief, he 
was terrified at the excess of her sorrow, 
" submits himself without a murmur to the 
will of God. I know that it must be harder 
still for you ; we may bear for ourselves 
what we cannot for others ; but your grief 
will add to, not soften his misery, — ^will you 
not, at least for liis sake, be patient ?" 



CLARE ABBEY. 153 

" I would," she said, raising her head 
and fixing her sad dark eyes on his face, 
" I think I could, if I had been there ; but 
you do not know how I have displeased 
him : I was wilful, — I would leave him and 
grieve him, and now I shall never, never 
see him again ;" and she laid down her head 
in despairing penitence. 

" You loill see him again," Ernest said, 
endeavouring to speak calmly and steadily, 
endeavouring to give such assurance as he 
could. ''Everything is ready, even now; 
why should you delay? — a very few hours, 
and you may be there to comfort him." 

She started hastily from her seat, but 
when she stood up she paused : there, with- 
out, was the dazzling sunshine shining heed- 
lessly on her sorrow ; there, within, were 
the signs and tokens of a past dream of happi- 
ness — in an hour life was changed, and 
there were few seeds of faith and trust and 
heavenly hope to make the change endur- 
able. She paused, looked around her ; then, 
shuddering, hurried away. 

Every preparation for her departure had 



154 CLARE ABBEY. 

been made by Ernest, with thought and 
care, before he attempted to see her ; and 
as he entered the house he had implored 
IVIiss Vincent to overlook the packing, and 
to make sure that there was no delay. The 
Vincents were naturally kind ; and now 
shocked and grieved for Camilla, showed 
their kindness with all the tact that true 
feeling prompts. Everything that could 
comfort or assist her was done ; and when 
they took leave of her -with tears in their 
eyes, their kind and aiFectionate farewell 
overcame the little strength she had to resist 
the violence of her grief. 

Ernest forced her to take his arm, and 
led her do^vn the staks which she had 
passed so lightly and happily a short half 
hour before. 

When they reached the door, another 
parting was awaiting her. With folded 
arms and downcast eyes Frank Hargrave 
stood, leaning against the railings which 
formed the enclosure round the hotel. His 
attitude, his whole appearance betokened 
feeling, — feehnof for Camilla and for himself. 



CLARE ABBEY. 155 

Far away as were his thoughts from his own 
hopes, or jealous fears, Ernest felt instinc- 
tively that a rival was near, and needed 
not the tremulous movement of the hand 
that rested on his arm, to assure him — so 
swiftly came the knowledge — that that 
rival had won what he had sought in vain. 
But Ernest's natm^e — weak and earth-bound 
as it was — was not a selfish one. He gave 
one look of intense scrutiny (a guardian's 
rather than a rival's gaze), and though that 
glance might not bring entire satisfaction, 
felt that it was not a moment for him 
to exercise a guardian's care. He led her 
to the door of the carriage that awaited 
her; then, without stopping to place her 
in it, re-entered the house, averting even 
his eyes from her movements, lest he should 
be a restraint upon her freedom, or add 
one drop of bitterness to the sorrow of the 
hour. 

Camilla made, however, little use of her 
freedom. She gave no glance around her, 
and entered the carriage alone. But thus 
she was not suffered to depart. Frank Har- 



156 CLAEE ABBEY. 

grave had waited for a summons, he had 
waited to be called to comfort her, — he had 
waited at least, for a wandering glance of 
her eye ; but now, full of fear and forgetful 
of all but the parting of the moment, he 
sprang to her side. She was seated, and at 
his approach she drew back — but leaning 
forward and seizing her hand, he passion- 
ately exclaimed, " Camilla, my own Camilla ! 
only say that we shall meet again." 

The soft melodious accents, the passionate 
pressure of her hand, made her whole frame 
tremble with emotion — but she answered 
him neither by word or look ; one moment 
she sat powerless, stupified — the next, releas- 
ing herself even with violence, she drew 
to the further side of the carriage and 
bmded her face in her hands. 

The maid, loaded with parcels, approached 
and entered the carriage ; Ernest sprang up 
upon the box, Mrs. Vincent and her 
daughter, with tearful eyes, kissed their 
hands to the unheeding Camilla, and they 
drove away. 

Frank Hargrave stood for a moment look- 



CLAEE ABBEY. 157 

ing after them, then walked rapidly from 
the house 



The afternoon sun was still sliining brilli- 
antly on the windows and towers of Clare 
Abbey, when Camilla returned after her 
first absence, to the home she had left so 
buoyant in spirit a fortnight before. But 
even the external appearance of the house 
bore witness to the change. It looked 
dreary and deserted ; profound silence 
reigned around, and the grave countenance 
of the single old servant, who anxiously 
waited her approach, struck terror and dis- 
may into the mind. 

"Mr. St. Maur is no worse," he said, as 
the carriage stopped ; but look and words 
both were ftill of woe. He was fondly 
attached to Camilla, and had approached to 
offer such consolation as he could; but her 
appearance betokened a grief beyond his 
consolation, and he respectftdly drew back 
that Ernest might appear. 

The first acquaintance with anxiety, sor- 



158 CLARE ABBEY. 

row and death, is a fearful thing to all ; it is 
doubly so to a young thoughtless being, on 
whose guarded life no reality of sickness has 
ever intruded, — in whose tranquil sheltered 
existence pain has been but a name. Such 
was Camilla ; even common sights of poverty 
and distress had been hidden from her eyes, 
and terror, a simple terror of what she 
might see, and what she might hear, had 
added its bitterness to the sorrows that were 
bowing her do^vn. Ernest found her so 
exhausted with fear and misery, that he was 
forced almost to Hft her to the ground. 

He held out his arm, and she clung to him ; 
and so, rather supporting than leading her 
he guided her through the deserted passages 
to her brother's room. One meeting she 
had by the way, and though in that meeting 
comfort for a ftiture day might have dimly 
dawned upon her mind, it brought no com- 
fort then ; it spoke too much of fear and a 
troubled spirit to do aught but increase her 
dread. As she passed down the first cor- 
ridor a door softly opened, and her father for 
an instant appeared; seized her with violence 



CLAEE ABBEY. 159 

in his arms, — pressed a convulsive kiss on 
her brow, and disappeared again. Surely, 
surely there must be a change, if her father 
could meet her thus. 

She stood like one stupified at her bro- 
ther's door, and yielded a mechanical obedi- 
ence to all that Ernest proposed. 

He entered the darkened room alone, to 
prepare Reginald for her appearance, — and 
silent, tearless, she sat without awaiting his 
return. 

" He is longing to see you," Ernest said, 
stooping tenderly over her ; " and do not 
fear, he is quite himself." 

He held the door open for her to pass; 
but she looked up fearfully in his face and 
clung to his arm. And so he led her to the 
bedside ; but there the sight of Reginald, — no 
change to terrify or appal, changed only so 
as to touch the hardest heart, — restored her 
to sense, to feeling, to forgetfulness of dread 
in the consciousness of present sorrow ; and 
falling on her knees beside his pillow, she 
burst into an agony of tears. 

Ernest made a sign to the old house- 



160 CLARE ABBEY. i 

\ 

keeper idio had approached in alarm ; and 
both together the;- left the room^ ivhfle ! 

Begmald &mtfy but cahnl)r soodied the { 

grief^ and qoieted the nund of his yoong 
and sorrowing dster. 



CLARE ABBEY. 161 



CHAPTER VII. 

To soothe and calm the bed of death, 
And wing to Thee the parting breath, 
To bid the hearts that faint and grieve 
Look on Thine angel face, and hve, 
And love, and succour all I see, 
Father to them, and child to Thee ; 

Oh ! more than bliss ! is this my lot, 
My God, and shall I thank Thee not ? 

Sewell's Sacred Thoughts. 

Reginald St. IVIaur had returaed to Clare 
Abbey a day or two before the expiration 
of the fortnight allowed for Camilla's ab- 
sence. Arrangements in which Lord Vere 
was much interested, and which had awaited 
only his coming of age to be concluded, had 
called him to London ; and during his stay 
in London, business had occupied much 
of his time. But during that fortnight also, 
other arrangements had been made which 
led to the fulfilment of one of his man}- 

VOL. II. M 



162 CLARE ABBEY. 

dreams, and the gratification of his highest 
ambition. A seat in Parliament was about 
to become vacant, Reginald had been invited 
to offer himself as a candidate, and there 
was little uncertainty in the prospect of 
success held out by his own sanguine heart. 
He returned to his home full of hope and 
animation and vigour. Life, even in a fuller 
sense than may commonly be said, was 
opening upon him ; for it was a life in which 
the best feelings of a noble nature, and the 
energies of a lofty intellect were to be em- 
ployed. His mother received him with a 
smile sweeter than usual, and for him her 
smile was always sweet. The absence of 
both her children had caused a sense of 
vacancy for the first time in her mind, and 
there was even animation in her welcome. 
His father said little, but looked at him 
much ; day by day love was striking deeper 
roots in his heart, day by day ambition was 
pushing forth higher shoots — the fire of youth 
was kindling anew in his soul, caught from 
the brightness of Reginald's beaming eye. 
Early on the morning after his return, Re- 



CLARE ABBEY. 163 

ginald walked down to visit Ernest de Grey, 
and together they proceeded to inspect the 
progress of the works, now for some weeks 
in operation, at the church. From the 
moment in which he had first undertaken it, 
his interest in the plan had never flagged. 
Ernest's patience had given way again and 
again before the objections of the architect, 
tlie many difficulties, the wearisome delays ; 
but Reginald, with unfailing interest and un- 
failing patience, had persisted till all were 
overcome. He was this morning full of ex- 
citement, full of ideas, full of schemes for 
various ornaments and decorations. 

The workmen were ens^aojed in clearino- 
away a quantity of stone and plaister, with 
which a window, discovered only in the pro- 
gress of the works, had long been concealed. 
"How beautiful," Reginald exclaimed, as 
the form of the window began to appear, — 
" but how slowly they work — I feel as if one 
touch of my hands would clear it all away." 
Ernest shook his head, with a smile and 
a glance at the not effeminate, yet not very 
workman-hke, fingers of his companion. 
m2 



164 CLARE ABBEY. 

" Don't you feel anxious to be at work, 
Ernest?" he began again, with unusual ani- 
mation in his tone, " I have hardly patience 
to stand idle." 

Ernest coloured, and turned away to avoid 
answering. Always truth itself, he would 
not profess an interest which he was con- 
scious he did not feel. Though in some 
slight degree aroused by Reginald's return, 
too conscious he was that day after day was 
passing in listless languor, and that he had 
regarded the fulfilment of this once che- 
rished hope with indifference. 

For Ernest was miserable and repining 
still — most miserable, because repining. He 
could not resign the treasure which yet 
eluded his grasp — he could not submit to 
the lot against which it yet was in vain to 
struggle ; — the sense of failure, the weight 
of humiliation, fretted his spirit, but did not 
lead him to reformation and repentance, — 
and therefore no tranquil fruits of repent- 
ance came. His heart was in a state of war- 
fare ; and being at war with himself, he was 
at war with others also. Trifling annoyances, 



CLARE ABBEY. 165 

which once he would have passed over with 
a smile, worried him beyond endurance. 
His temper was becoming impatient and 
irritable — he so tender and considerate of 
the feelings of others, was allowing himself 
to return hasty answers — to resent the in- 
quisitiveness of his curate, the officiousness 
of his housekeeper, the mistakes of all about 
him. At war with himself, his whole life 
was becoming hateful ; the present fretted, 
the past shamed, the future — a long course 
of preaching and teaching — a cheerless 
home — a loveless heart — appalled him ; 
once again he shrank from his existence, as 
on the dreary ^November night in his way- 
ward youth. 

Reginald looked at him with some curi- 
osity. His attachment to Ernest made him 
quicksighted, where otherwise his attention 
would not have been caught. Long and long 
he had read Ernest's feeling for his sister, 
and though Camilla had feared to make a 
confession, he had not been without suspicion 
of the effects of that evening walk. Hearing 
nothing, it had passed from his mind, but 



166 CLAKE ABBEY. 

something in Ernest's manner this morning 
renewed it again. His attention was, how- 
ever, for the moment withdrawn by a fall of 
whitewashed stones, wliich brought to light 
almost the whole graceful and fragile frame- 
work of the window. 

" Look Ernest," he exclaimed excitedly, 
'' where can the inhuman monster have been 
born who was guilty of this sacrilege ? One 
can hardly conceive the feelings of those 
who failed to perceive beauty such as this t 
See how even the workmen pause to admire!" 
He stopped, then turning to Ernest con- 
tinued more thoughtfully, " I am half afraid, 
Ernest, that this church will be a temptation 
to me — I do really think, that when once it 
has been simply and judiciously restored, I 
might make a better use of my time and 
money, than to lavish ornament upon it ; 
but my inclination is the other way. I 
should like to have it perfect within and 
without, and some of the decorations and 
ornaments that are now used are in them- 
selves so beautiful and full of meaning. I was 
strongly tempted in London the other day." 



CLARE ABBEY. 167 

" 1 think," Ernest replied, after a moment's 
thought, " that it would be a temptation, and 
should be resisted. I do not say so because 
my own taste is in favour of simplicity, for 
in great towns, where luxury of every de- 
scription is lavished on private houses, I can 
allow that something of the same kind may 
be suitable and even demanded for churches ; 
but in country places it is otherwise — any- 
thing of gaudy or rich decoration, seems to 
me to be out of keeping with the simplicity 
of country life, and would, I think, be more 
likely to dissipate than awe the minds of 
ignorant villagers. I may, however, be pre- 
judiced, and speak too much from my own 
feelings. To me there is very little solem- 
nity in a richly ornamented church." 

" No, Ernest, I think you are right ;" 
nevertheless, a moment afterwards, Reginald 
was expatiating with much zest on some of 
those same ornaments which had attracted 
his attention. 

He paused, attracted again by his compa- 
nion's abstraction. Having given his opinion, 
Ernest's mind was wandering — it was always 



168 CLAEE ABBEY. 

wandering, and always in one direction; 
much occupation now had his thoughts in 
speculating on his approaching meeting with 
Camilla, in tormenting himseK with fancied 
coldness, in imagining contempt and scorn. 
He was far away, bowed before her glance, 
while Reginald spoke. 

" Are you ill, Ernest ?" Reginald suddenly 
inquired, laying his hand on his shoulder — 
a movement that with him denoted peculiar 
affection. 

Ernest started and colonized, but laughed, 
*s' No, not ill ; I am never ill." 

" 111 in mind then, Ernest, — ^you are not 
happy.'' 

Ernest hesitated. "If I am not," he 
said, at last, " it is no matter ; it is not a 
subject worth your attention or yom^ in- 
terest." 

" All things that interest you, interest me,'* 
Reginald exclaimed warmly ; " and Ernest," 
he continued after a moment's thought, 
colouring slightly, and speaking with some 
difficulty, "is it quite true that this sub- 
ject does not interest me? — if you allowed 



CLARE ABBEY. 169 

it, miglit I not guess what cause it is that 
troubles you?" 

'* You might, but do not guess," Ernest 
said hurriedly, "wincing at the bare idea of 
Reginald's approaching his griefs. Recover- 
ing himself, he went on with seriousness, and 
somethincT of sadness too. " All men have 
their peculiar trials and temptations, and 
they are best borne with and overcome 
alone. Some are of a kind that will not 
bear the light of day — mine cannot. Do not 
think me migracious," he added again, struck 
and touched by the affectionate expression 
of Reginald's countenance; "if I thought of 
your kindness less, I should say more, and 
thank you more." 

Reginald refrained ; though fearful of his 
sister's present indifference, he longed, as he 
had longed a thousand times before, to say ; 
" Go, and prosper " — ^but his nature required 
invitation, to offer even words of sympathy 
and encouragement. 

Roused by Reginald's scrutiny, and anxious 
to escape from it, Ernest exerted himself to 
speak, and recurred again to the subject of 



170 CLARE ABBEY. 

the church. In the course of conversation, a 
discussion arose, which made an inspection 
of the original plan advisable, and Ernest 
left Reginald in the churchyard, while he 
returned to the parsonage to hunt out the 
plan in question. 

The search occupied him for a few 
minutes, for somewhat listlessly he was 
turning over his papers, when suddenly, and 
without leave, his door opened, and Mrs. 
Cook presented herself. 

She looked bemldered and alarmed. 
" There's been a haccident, sir, — a sad hac- 
cident !" 

"Has there," Ernest exclaimed, hastily 
dropping his papers, " where ? — can I be of 
any use ?" 

She came close to him, and laid her finger 
on his arm. " It's my belief, your honour, 
that the young Lord is dead." 

How the distance between his own house 
and the chmxhyard was passed Ernest could 
not tell — it seemed as if one step, one single 
moment, placed him kneeling beside the 
senseless, bleeding, mangled form, which he 



CLAPvE ABBEY. 171 

had left in the pride of life a few short 
minutes before. 

As much as ever was knoAvn of the cause 
of the accident and its circumstances, was 
related by one of the rough, honest work- 
men, as he stood sorrowfully over Ernest and 
his friend. 

" How it comes about, your honour, was 
this ; — ^he stood for a while after you went 
away, then he comed up nigh to us, and after 
a bit he cHmbed up a ladder, as I'll venture 
to say he never a done afore ; and then he 
gived a shove to them there stones with his 
delicate fingers, and the ladder went this 
way and that way, and afore any could see 
it was back'ards on the ground, and them 
there pile of stones followed arter him ; and 
it was no fault of nobody's," he added reve- 
rently, "but only the hand of God that 
struck him down." 

The stones had been removed from Regi- 
nald's limbs before Ernest's return, and a 
single glance told him that even if life ^-as 
spared, the use of life was gone. One leg 
was completely shattered by the fall. 



172 CLARE ABBEY. 

Ernest was gifted with the invakable 
quality of presence of mind. A very few 
minutes sufficed to make every needful 
arrangement, — to despatch messengers on 
horseback in different directions in search of 
medical advice, to send Mr. Hervey to Clare 
Abbey, and to prepare a litter for Regi- 
nald's removal thither. 

His first idea had been to remove him 
only to the parsonage, but there was so much 
of death in the pale face before him, that 
after one moment's consideration, he decided 
on taking him, while yet removal was pos- 
sible, to die in his own home. 

Insensible, yet quivering with agony, they 
placed him on the litter, and so the hopeful 
heir of a noble house re-entered the home of 
his father. 

That home was a scene of confusion and 
dismay. The servants idolized Reginald, and 
stood paralyzed with sorrow. Lady Vere, to 
whom, with much feeling and judgment, Mr. 
Hervey had broken the news, unable to be 
withheld, rushed out to meet her son, and 
swooned at the sight. Lord Vere, pale, 



CLARE ABBEY. 173 

stem, ■ and immovable, contemplated the 
fallen flower of his hope, then turned away 
to master or be mastered by his agony 
alone. On Ernest the bm'den of responsi- 
bility fell ; to Ernest every eye looked, and 
every tongue appealed ; and, heart-broken as 
he was, he was equal to his task. 



Two of the messengers had been success- 
ful in their search, and within two hours' 
time Reginald's fate had been heard from 
the lips of two physicians. 

He returned to consciousness shortly be- 
fore their arrival, his mind clear and sound 
amid the destruction of the body ; but, 
though he smiled more than once, he did 
not speak. 

The examination was short, and imme- 
diately on its conclusion the physicians left 
the room. 

"Follow them, Ernest," Reginald then 
said, in a faint but calm voice, " and learn 
my fate. I will hear it from your lips." 

He followed them. They were standmg 



174 CLARE ABBEY. 

in a recess of the long corridor, in deep 
consultation. A strange flash of childish 
recollection, coming as such things will at 
most unwonted times, passed across Ernest's 
mind as he joined them. That recess had 
been his own, the receptacle of his most 
cherished toys, and with the vividness of 
reality he saw it once again filled vnth 
tokens of those vanished days. He passed 
his hand dreamily before his eyes, to dispel 
a vision which even at that moment came 
redolent of joy, — and then in a few words 
told his errand. 

One of the physicians, a stranger, a kind 
man, but short and decided in his manner, 
answered him. 

" Of Mr. St. Mam-'s ultimate fate we can- 
not at this moment speak decidedly. Imme- 
diate amputation of the right leg is necessar}^, 
to prevent immediate death. Allien this 
pressing danger is over, we shall be able to 
consider more attentively the other injuries 
he has received. My opinion is, however, 
that if he survive the present operation, — 
and, from his evidently strong constitution, I 



CLARE ABBEY. 175 

see little doubt of this, — he may linger for 
years. At the same time I am compelled to 
add, that it will be little short of a miracle 
if he ever leaves a couch agam." 

Ernest had expected nothing less than 
this. There was that in Reginald's counte- 
nance which said clearer than words, never 
would he rise to life and action more ; yet 
when the words came, they came, as cer- 
tainty must ever come, even to the wildest 
anxiety. 

" Forgive me for speaking thus abruptly," 
the physician apologized kindly, shocked to 
perceive the sudden paleness of Ernest's 
cheek ; " I was not aware . . . ." 

" Thank you," repHed Ernest, recovering 
himself, " thank you for speaking plainly : it 
was the truth I wished to hear." 

" You will be kind enough," continued 
the physician, "to communicate the result 
of our examination to Lord Vere. We shall 
be prepared for the operation in half an 
hour." 

Ei'nest turned away. Time for thought, 
time to ponder upon the terms in which to 



176 CLARE ABBEY. 

prepare Reginald for his fate he daxed not 
allow. With a sinking heart, but a resolved 
composure, he re-entered the room. 

The unfortunate young man was lying as 
he had left him, calm in his agony. Ernest 
seated himself in silence by his bedside. 

" Is it death, Ernest?" he inquired, turn- 
ing his eyes upon him. 

" No," Ernest repHed, in a tremulous 
voice, " not death." 

Reginald looked at him fixedly. " Then 
living death?" he said. 

Ernest's only answer was to stoop, and 
press liis lips on his cold damp forehead. 

Reginald's cheek became livid in its pale- 
ness. The endurance which the expectation 
of death and the racking of bodily suffering 
could not shake, was shaken now. A con- 
vulsive shudder passed through his whole 
frame, and tears, — not tears of sorrow, but 
large cold tears, wrung as blood from his 
heart, fell from his distended eyes. 

Ernest bent over him, and almost uncon- 
sciously murmured, 

" Father^ if it he possible^ let this cup pass 



CLARE ABBEY. 177 

from me ; nevertheless^ not my will hut Thine 
he done'' 

If Ernest's voice was the voice of the 
angel appointed to strengthen him in his 
agony, it did not fail in its mission. The 
shuddering ceased, the eyes closed, then 
gently unclosed again, as they turned on 
Ernest. 

" Dear Ernest," he said, " I thank you. 
Yes, this is left to me still ; life and health 
may pass away, but still I can submit." 

His voice was perfectly composed when 
next he spoke. " Part of your meaning, 
Ernest, I can well understand : is it to be 
immediate?" 

" Immediate," he replied, faintly. 

" Then you must go to my father ; or does 
he already know ? " 

" Not yet," Ernest said, rising from his 
seat ; for he had forgotten the physician's 
request. " I am going to him — I promised." 

Reginald stretched out his hand to detain 
Mm. 

" Ernest," he said, with some agitation, 
" tell him gently. You may doubt it, but," 

VOL. II. N 



178 CLAEE ABBEY. 

and a flush passed over his face, " my father 
loves me." 

Ernest did not doubt. He had plainly- 
read the signs of the last few months, had 
marked the unconscious sparkle of pride at 
Reginald's name ; or if these had failed to 
speak, he had seen the vain attempt of the 
present hour, the vain attempt to mask in 
outward calm the inward agony. 

He went in search of him. Contrary to 
his expectation, he found he had left his own 
library, and, with some surprise, heard from 
one of the servants that he was with Lady 
Vere in her dressing-room. 

Ernest knocked, and was admitted. 

Lady Vere, still insensible, was lying on a 
couch drawn to the window, and by her side 
her husband sat. It seemed as if the shadow 
of sorrow had already brought together those 
whom in sunny weather had stood apart ; 
for in the position at least there was some- 
thing of the union and tenderness of a 
former time. Lord Vere still bore an air 
of determined composure ; but the struggle 
to retain it was even at a first glance evi- 



CLARE ABBEY. 179 

dent. Those whose feelings have long been 
subdued and overcome shrink with a kind 
of terror from their dominion again ; and he 
seemed battling as with an enemy. 

He rose to meet Ernest. 

" You are come, Mr. De Grey," he said, 
in a deep stern voice. 

" Yes," Ernest replied, and paused. The 
very harshness of the tone betrayed such 
intensity of anxiety, that he was at a loss 
how to speak. 

Lord Vere fixed his searching eyes upon 
him. 

'^ Is my son to die ?" he exclaimed. 

" No," Ernest said, in a low voice, " he 
will not die. He may live, but . . . ." 

" Speak, ]\ir. De Grey," said the same 
harsh tone. 

Ernest's lips quivered with emotion, not- 
withstanding his utmost efforts to be calm. 

" He may live," he replied, " he may, it is 
possible, rise again from his couch to bless 
you ; but if he does, it must be the hand of 
God that lifts him up, for man cannot." 

" I understand you," cried the wretched 
N 2 



180 CLARE ABBEY. 

father ; "my son" — he paused, he struggled 
to control himself, but words burst forth as 
with a cry of despair — " my pride, the joy 
of my life, the child of my hope will be a 
cripple!" 

He dashed away, and concealed himself 
in a deep window at a distance from where 
they stood, and there Ernest heard the deep- 
drawn breathing with which the fight with 
his emotion was prolonged. 

He stood irresolute. Lord Yere was one 
to inspire awe, not to invite sympathy, and 
his manner asked rather for solitude than for 
comfort now ; yet an impulse m^ged Ernest 
to seize this moment of comparative softness, 
and he obeyed it. 

" Vfhj do you struggle against your sor- 
row?" he said, approaching him, speaking 
in those tender soothing tones which " the 
heart heard." '' "W^iat greater comfort could 
there be to your suffering son, than to know 
that you love him and grieve for him?" 

Once again the proud man struggled with 
his misery, but this time in vain. Tears 
from the long- dried fountain within burs^; 



CLARE ABBEY. 181 

from his eyes, and, leaning his head against 
the wall, he wept. 

Ernest retreated from the window, but, 
after a moment's thought, decided on re- 
maining near him. It is painful, most 
painful, to stand and watch the outward 
expression of agony, more especially that 
of the proud and shrinking, who find in the 
expression of their sorrow itself an added 
pain ; yet it seemed to him that, however 
displeasing his presence might then be, it 
was possible that aftervvards it might bring 
relief to the proud man to know, that vain 
was his sternness, — one had seen his emo- 
tion,— ^n^ had learnt that he could feel. 

He stood near Lady Yere, and put back 
the curtains that the air might blow more 
freely upon her, and fell into a kind of 
musing speculation, inquiring how it was 
that she, whose inanimate nature seemed 
scarcely susceptible of the commonest im- 
pressions, was thus affected, while those who 
could think and feel were in full possession 
of ever}^ faculty of mind and body. 

He was thus bending dreamily over her 



182 CLAEE ABBEY. 

when Lord Vere rejoined him. He was 
calm again, but not as he had been ; tears 
dimmed his eyes, and feeling spoke in every 
movement and muscle of his countenance. 

He made a few inquiries, then said, " Re- 
turn to Reginald, Mr. De Grey. You must 
be with him, for I cannot. But tell him 
that I love him," — ^his hp quivered, — " and 
tell him that my heart is broken." 

He waved his hand impatiently, and 
Ernest left him. 



Half an hour afterwards Reg^inald was 
carried back to bed — the operation, (one 
even more than commonly painful from the 
manifold injuries he had received) — over. 
The alleviations for lulling the sense of pain, 
which have lately been discovered he had 
rejected, not " sullenly and with scorn," but 
resolutely. 

"Do not urge me, Ernest," he said; "if 
ever I could hope to go forth into life again, 
I would not perhaps refuse — but now what 
is left to me on earth but to hear?''' 

And he did bear. Once only during the 



CLARE ABBEY. 183 

painful operation, a groan of unutterable 
anguish burst from his lips, and that was 
wrung from mental, not from bodily agony. 
Once Ernest, who stood by his side and 
held his hand, feeling the hand tremble in 
his, and observing his closed eyes pressed 
together with convulsive energy — stooped 
over him, and faint and gasping, from his 
lips he heard these murmured words pro- 
ceed, "Oh! Lucifer, son of the morning, 
how art thou fallen ! " 

Much has been said and written on the 
subject of sudden conversions. I suppose, 
that taken in the full sense of the word, they 
are rare, though not perhaps so rare, as some 
are disposed to imagine : but taking the 
word in a lower sense, considering it as a 
change, not fr'om darkness, but from a kind 
of twihght into light, they are so far from 
being uncommon, that few have not felt in 
themselves or observed in others some in- 
stance of the kind. As in the physical 
nature of man, after long illness, and linger- 
ing recovery, there comes a day when 
suddenly he feels that the invalid is left 



184 CLAEE ABBEY. 

behind, and lie is himself again, — as in the 
intellectual nature, there comes a time when 
after long and seemingly unmeaning study, a 
light flashes on the brain and knowledge is 
won, — so in the moral and spiritual part of 
man, it is often on a sudden, a certain mo- 
ment, or hour, or day, that the truths learned 
in childhood begin to have a conscious being 
— that the virtues and holy practices of years 
begin to have a meaning — that the invisible 
begins to be visible — that Heaven becomes 
a reality instead of an empty name. 

Such a change — such a conversion — such 
a regeneration as it might be called of 
Ernest's nature, was effected in the course 
of the suffering hours of that day. 

"II y a une espece de honte," says La 
Bruyere, " d'etre heureux a la vue de cer- 
taines miseres." From the sight of the 
blighted life before him, from the bed of 
suffering over which he bent, a voice arose 
which rang like a trumpet in Ernest's soul, 
bowing him in shame and repentance to the 
dust, — such shame and such repentance 
from which fair and fruitful blossoms spring. 



CLAEE ABBEY, 185 

From childhood he had been taught, that 
the world was a place of trial and discipline 
to the soul ; in childhood he had been 
taught, in manhood he had preached it ; but 
the words were unmeanino; in his ears and 
on his hps, — still he was thirsting to make it 
a place of rest. For years he had heard, 
and his lips had preached, that man does 
not live by bread — the bread of this world's 
pleasure, this world's comfort — alone ; but 
by every word, whether of joy or of sorrow, 
that proceedeth from the mouth of God : 
but for him, the daily bread for which he 
asked, was the cup of this world's joy. He 
knew^ but understood not. 

But the breath of the Spirit's influence 
bloweth where it listeth, and by that suffer- 
ing couch, in sight of that excess of anguish 
and superhuman patience, knowledge and 
understanding came to his soul : 

" Awed and dazzled, bending, I confess 
Life may have nobler ends than happiness." 

It is not in minds of Ernest's class that 
such knowledge is barren knowledge. Many, 
in moments of excitement, feel dormant 



186 CLAEE ABBEY. 

powers aroused, and duties that almost mad- 
den ttie soul brought before their eyes ; few 
deal so truly with themselves as to own their 
responsiblity for the inspirations of such a 
time. But Ernest, even from childhood, had 
followed the light that led him, and so was 
prepared for the enlightening of this hour. 
His progress had been slow, for opposing 
tendencies kept hun back ; but though fail- 
ing, he had never been forgetful ; in dis- 
comfiture had never been at rest. Often he 
stumbled, sometimes altogether he fell; but 
still when the time of temptation past, with 
clear eyes and resolute will, he had ever 
risen again and struggled on. 

The thick-coming fancies, the stirring 
energies of that moment, might fade and fall 
into rest ; but he had passed a boundary 
and entered into a new existence, and he 
would not return ao'ain. It mig-ht be but a 
step ; but it was that step which leads from 
the life of calm and simple sincerity, asking, 
"What must I do, and I Tvdll strive to do 
it?" to the glowing life, which beholding 
the flood of evil on the earth, exclaims, 



CLARE ABBEY. 187 

" What can I do for tlie glory of God and 
the love of man ? What wanderers can I call 
back to rest ? what holy ones can I bless ? 
what sorro^ving eyes can I comfort? what 
fi^l errors of the flesh restore with my 
gentle compassion?" It was but a step, 
but it was such a step as the earth makes, 
when from the shadows of night and the 
glimmerings of tmhght, it leaps forth into 
the radiance of the dawning sun. Many an 
hour might pass before it attained its noon- 
tide glory ; but the night was spent, and 
the da^\'n was come. 



188 CLA15E ABBET. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Our life has flowed into its deep dark stream, 

Yv'here silent waters sleep and shades are lying ; 
Our noon is come, and all bright colours seem 
Fading and dying. 

Sewell's Sacred Thoughts. 

Lorsque sur cette terre on se sent delaisse, 
Qu'on est d'aucim objet la premiere pensee, 
Lorsque I'onpeut souffirir sure que ses douleurs 
D'aucun mortel ne font couler les pleurs, 
On se desinteresse a la fin de soimeme, 
On cesse de s'aimer si quelqu'un ne nous aime. 

"With the unhappy," it has been said, 
" the happy may not enter into judgment." 
To all indeed, and for all the precept has 
been given, " Judge not lest ye be judged ; " 
but if in a precept so given, we may speak 
of a question of more or less, it becomes 
of double force in the case of the pro- 
sperous and the afflicted. If in the days of 
hopefulness and prosperity, when the sun 
shiues smilingly on our pathway, temptation 



CLARE ABBEY. 189 

is hard to be resisted, — and who shall say it 
is not so ? — • if, when blessings lie like 
flowers beneath oiu: feet, repining and dis- 
content is hard to be subdued, — and who 
shall say it is not often thus ? — what ex- 
cuses should not man make for those who 
have erred and strayed in the days of 
trouble and misery. It is true that sorrow 
is a heavenly teacher ; that it calms the 
excitements of this world, and lifts the 
thoughts from earth to heaven. But it does 
not always so act on its first approach — 
it does not so act when it falls stunningly 
and unexpectedly ; especially not so when 
it falls on those who are uninstructed in 
its meaning, and undisciplined to submit : 

" Sorrows like showers descend, and as the heart 
For them prepares, they good or ill impart." 

The cases I tliink are few and rare in 
which their ultimate end is evil ; but rare 
too are the cases in which their first ap- 
proach does not bring something of tempta- 
tion to an unprepared spirit. 

Days and weeks went by, and the mono- 
tony of sorrow began to replace the first 



190 CLARE ABBEY. 

hours of excited feeling among the mhabi- 
tants of Clare Abbey. There was nothing 
to hope, and in the jpresent little to fear. 
Reginald's calm strength and patience — the 
command he kept over his mind, had pre- 
vented the danger of fever ; his strength of 
constitution had surmounted the danger of 
weakness and depression. Little, very little 
improvement in his condition was held out 
to hope ; but until the constant presence 
of pain had worn him out, and undermined 
the strength and vigour of his constitution, 
%ere was little to fear. 

On none did this monotony of life fall 
with a more depressing and dangerous effect 
than on Camilla. Others had their occupa- 
tions either from without or from within. 
Pain is a great consumer of time ; so also 
is the struggle between contending pas- 
sions, such as day by day was carried on 
in the mind of Lord Vere ; but Camilla, 
save her own sorrowful thoughts, had real 
occupation neither from without nor from 
within. It would not have been so, had 
she been allowed to be, as she could have 



CLARE ABBEY. 191 

been, her brother's devoted nurse. It was 
no office too high for her ; childish as in 
many ways she had been, there was in her 
character a strength and power of devo- 
tion which needed only circumstances to 
call them forth; and she who had been 
his constant and chosen companion in pro- 
sperity — in adversity would never have been 
found wanting. But that place, that office, 
had been — not usui^ed — for who shall say 
that a mother usurps ? — but taken from 
her hope, her expectation, by another. 

More marvellous in its outward effects than 
the change in Ernest De Grey, though per- 
haps less marvellous within, was the change 
that had taken place in Lady Vere since 
the time of her son's accident. The love 
of a mother is one of those unsearch- 
able things which no ^\dsdom can measure 
or fathom; where human calculation has 
least expected to mtness it, there often 
the perfect flower springs up. So was it 
with Lady Vere. The selfishness, the in- 
dolence, the frivolous cares which had 
seemed to form her existence, were — 



192 CLARE ABBEY. 

not extinguished — perhaps, but put away, 
mastered by one master passion. After 
two days' prostration of mind and body, 
beneath the first shock of a first affliction, 
Lady Yere became at once calm, self-col- 
lected, her son's untired and devoted nurse, 
— that wisdom which she had not, that 
experience which she did not possess, ga- 
thering from the intuitive power of love. 
No hand but hers was allowed to minister 
to his wants by day ; and, if not by night 
also, it was because Lord Vere exerted his 
authority with a manner which could not 
be withstood, and commanded her to 
rest. And who could have wished it other- 
wise? Even Reginald, though at times he 
missed the more intellectual companion- 
ship of his sister, felt soothed and blessed 
when that soft hand touched his brow, 
when those soft eyes met his wearied 
glance, when those soft tones stole gently 
upon his ear. 

Yet a wise mother would have seen the 
danger attending so weary and joyless a life 
as Camilla's now was ; — the days had sud- 



CLARE ABBEY. V36 

denly come upon her when there was no 
pleasure in them — and they had come at a 
time when she seemed least fitted to bear 
their pressure — at a time when every 
feeling had been roused, when opening 
visions of a distant and exciting world had 
sent her glances far forward to build a 
shado^vy paradise. But in learning the in- 
tuitive -^dsdom of love, Lady Yere had not 
learned — could not learn to think. Regi- 
nald occupied all her care, all her thoughts ; 
she lived in him. She was, besides, a jea- 
lous nurse. Even the daily visits of Ernest 
De Grey she had at first attempted to resist ; 
and though his perfect understanding of 
such feelings, and perfect ^visdom and gen- 
tleness in deahng with them, had given him a 
victory — it ivas a victory. She daily yielded 
her place to him, and left them together 
with a smile ; but she felt it a daily gift, a 
daily grace, and it was a grace for him alone. 
Left to herself, Camilla sank into an 
apathy of misery. She wandered listlessly 
in and out of her brother's room, rarely 
finding him alone, rarely able to express her 

VOL. II. o 



194 CLARE ABBEY. 

wretchedness, or gather from his lips con- 
solation. Her old occupations were become 
hateful to her. It is not the unhappy who 
can divert themselves ; from those arts and 
pleasures which charm and bless a happy 
existence the miserable turn with even 
loathing away. She was wretched, and 
none ministered to her misery. 

In this sad and softened state of her 
feelings it might have been expected that 
those religious principles, unlieeded in her 
joyous and excited youthfulness,' would have 
found an entrance ; nor was she altogether 
beyond their influence. But here too she 
was unfortunate : the character under which 
these principles were now forcibly pre- 
sented to her was not such a character as 
could win her heart to love. 

If there was a fault in the perfect patience 
with which Reginald submitted to his hope- 
less fate, it was in the stoical character which 
it assumed. Pride is the evil ever to be 
dreaded in the practice of the highest vir- 
tues, and the pride of Reginald's disposition 
was living yet. He had fancied it crushed 
for ever by the hand that crushed him to 



CLARE ABBEY. 195 

the earth, and guessed not that it was 
springing up strong and vigorous in the 
form of umnunnuring submission. He 
guessed not how tainted by pride was the 
motive which made him unceasingly repeat 
in the silence of his heart, that, whatever 
he felt, none should hear him complain; 
that none should know the wildness of his 
regrets for the past, — the shrinking with 
which he thought of the future ; that come 
what might, if mortal strength could bear 
it, he still would smile above his pain. 

Stoicism is not to the young an attrac- 
tive form of heroism. None could admire 
heroic characters with more unbounded ad- 
miration than Camilla ; but then her heroes 
were men. Self-conquest she reverenced 
from her heart, but not that fonn of self- 
conquest which denies the existence of the 
ill. When she listened to Reginald's words, 
— when she heard him so calmly reason on 
his- fate — she sometimes doubted whether 
he could feel. To submit^ — she knew he 
must — she knew she must for him; but 
what consolation was there in the know- 
2 



196 CLARE ABBEY. 

ledge ? — it was the inevitable nature of the 
doom from which she shrank ! 

Ernest would have been, nay, was in some 
degree, her better teacher, but Ernest .... 
It is the painfiil character of our errors and 
weaknesses that their effects follow us on 
earth long after we may hope they have 
been forgiven in Heaven. 

"The Past lives o'er again [ 

< : In its effects, and to the guilty spirit, 

The ever- frowning Present is its image." 

When the first excitement of affliction had 
passed, Ernest found that a barrier stood 
between him and Camilla, and never did 
humiliation oppress him more deeply than 
when this consequence of his moment's 
weakness appeared. Whence came the bar- 
rier? he could hardly tell. It was not in 
Camilla, for she, wTapt in other thoughts and 
other sorrows, had almost forgotten what 
he could not forget ; but it w^as, as it will 
ever be — self-indulgence bringing its sure 
and bitter fruit in man's chief chastener — 
his own conscience. He who might have 
had, who should have had, something of a 



CLARE ABBEY. 197 

father's right to watch over her, had ap- 
proached her as a lover ; and he was 
humbled before her yet. He who might 
have brought words of heavenly hope and 
heavenly comfort, had disturbed the serenity 
of her soul ^yith. words of earthly passion, 
and even if not so with Aer, the echo of the 
words were vibrating around him yet. 

It was not an irretrievable error. Time 
might restore the high position he had for- 
feited : self-control of words and looks, and 
above all of thoughts, might redeem the 
past. But e\T.l works more rapidly than 
good, and to undo is harder than to do. Now 
when he saw her wandering alone in the 
mazy walks about the house, conscience, no 
longer innocent, made him doubtflil of liis 
motives, and forbade him to wander by her 
side. When he saw her listlessly seated 
in the deserted drawing-room, — her hands 
unoccupied, her cheeks pale, her eyes 
downcast in dieary meditation, — conscience 
made him distrust the tenderness he felt, 
and he passed on, not daring to approach 
her with a brother's love, not daring to 



198 CLARE ABBEY. 

draw her from her griefs, and mle them 
away with his sympathy. 

The fault was his, in the punishment 
Camilla shared ; and the consciousness 
of this (though even he knew not how 
deeply her desolation was felt) made his 
punishment as great as he could bear. 

There was yet another cause wliich at 
this time drove Camilla to the solitude 
of her own thouo;hts, and made something 
of estrangement, not in the affection, but 
in the mtercourse between her and her 
brother. 

A violent headache had, one afternoon, 
displaced Lady Vere from her post, and 
joyfully and eagerly was that post seized 
upon by Camilla. 

Seated by her brother's side, — ^happy to 
have him all to herself, — happy to have it 
permitted to her to serve him and wait upon 
him, — the dreary present floated from 
before her eyes, and once again, for a few 
short moments, she was Camilla, and he 
was Reginald, such as they had been in the 
old joyful days. 



CLAKE ABBEY. 199 

She smootlied his pillow, and gave him 
his accustomed medicine ; and with a smile 
gladder than it had been, though sadder 
and softer than the smile of the olden 
time, forgetful almost of the sad necessity 
for her cares, hung fondly over him, 
and asked if she too did not deserve the 
name of nurse. He saw her abstraction 
from the present, and rejoiced to see it ; 
and anxiously avoiding all painful thoughts, 
went back with her into the past. 

" Now tell me, Camilla," he said, when 
at last she seated herself beside him, "how 
did you pass your time Avith the Vincents ? 
Were you very happy ? " 

"Very happy," she replied, and sighed; 
then recovering herself: "how beautiful the 
sea is ! I could never have fancied anything 
so beautiful. I should like to hve by the 
sea-side always." 

Reginald smiled : it was the old Camilla, 
with her fruitless wishes. " And was it the 
beauty of the sea that made you happy?" he 
inquired, and he looked at her with a con- 
fiding expression, as if he truly hoped it was so. 



200 CLARE ABBEY. 

" Not quite," sHe replied, and blushed. 

He watched her with some curiosity. 
" Did you make many new acquaintances ? '' 
he asked. 

" Yes, a few," she paused, and blushed 
more deeply ; then, as with a sudden resolu- 
tion, proceeded, "I met there your friend, 
or acquaintance, Mr. Hargrave." 

" Did you, Camilla ? I am very sorry." 

"Why?" she inquired, and she raised 
her eyes a little indignantly. 

" Because I do not like him, and have 
not a good opinion of him. I should be 
very sorry to think he was a friend of 
yours," and he turned his eyes upon her 
anxiously. 

" You never are pleased when I am 
pleased !" she replied petulantly ; but then 
she paused, for as she saw a faint flush of 
pam pass over his cheek, the trance wliich 
had seemed to carry her from present 
misery passed away, and in a passion of 
remorseful tenderness she burst into tears — 
" Forgive me ! forgive me ! " she exclaimed ; 
" what a wretch I am to speak so to you ; 



CLARE ABBEY. 201 

how could I do it ? Oh, Reginald ! " and 
she laid down her head upon his pillow, 
" how happy we were, and how miserable 
we are now ! I cannot^ cannot bear it ! " 

He turned away his head, either to con- 
ceal some expression on his own counte- 
nance, or to avert his eyes from hers. 
When he looked at her again and held out 
his hand, it was with a calm sweet smile : 
" Dear Camilla," he said, " do not speak 
like that ! it grieves me to hear you say 
such words. We must bear it, both you 
and I ; it is what we have to learn." 

" I cannot ! " she repeated, passionately. 

He said no more then ; another thought 
was weighing upon his mind, and he was 
anxious to return to it. To divert her 
thoughts, and give her time to recover her- 
self, he employed her for some minutes 
in moving books, and arranging various 
parts of the room and furniture. When 
he saw her calm again, he called to her, 
and she sat down again by his side. 

" You were telling me about Frank Har- 
grave," he said, speaking Idndly, but in 



202 CLAEE ABBEY. 

vain endeavouring to conceal his anxiety; 
'•did you see much of him?" 

'' Yes," she replied, sitting by his side 
^^ath her eyes fastened on the ground. 

"And did you like him, Camilla?" He 
Avatched her with intense interest. 

'' Yes," she replied, in a low voice, her 
colom^ rising; oTaduallv till her cheek and 
brow were crimson. 

'' Camilla ! " he exclaimed excitedly, "you 
did not Jove him?" 

She made no answer, but her countenance 
needed no words to declare its meaning. 

A blush as deep as hers flushed Regi- 
nald's pale cheek ; it was a blush of many 
feelings — of regret, of shame, perhaps more 
than all, of earthly pride ; but Camilla did 
not see it : in the pause that followed his 
question she sat immovable, with doT\Ticast 
eyes, and her hands nervously folded together. 

"Camilla," at last he said again, in the 
same excited tone, " you cannot mean it ; 
surely he did not dare " 

" Why dare ? " — and she raised her head 
haughtily. 



CLARE ABBEY. 203 

'' You cannot mean it," he repeated ; " he 
did not dare to tell you he loved you, to 
ask your love, to . . . Camilla ! could he 
dare?" 

"Why(iar^F" she asked again, and her 
eyes were sparkling with pride. 

" Camilla ; surely, Camilla, you would not 
stoop to such a mesalliance,'' 

" Mesalliance ! " she exclaimed, and as she 
pronounced the word, every tender feehng 
towards Frank Hargrave, every charm with 
which her imagination had invested the 
name, seemed to dissolve into mist. " No, 
Reginald ; you need have no fear. I never 
would stoop to a mesalliance.'' 

" Forgive me, Camilla," he said, and held 
out his hand, and the momentary excite- 
ment over, his head, which he had slightly 
raised, sank back exhausted on his pillow. 
"Forgive me," he continued, faintly, "for- 
give me for distrusting you. I should not 
have spoken as I have done — it was my 
pride. My pride," he repeated, and an ex- 
pression of intense anguish passed over his 
countenance. 



204 CLARE ABBEY. 

" Say no more," Camilla murmured, bend- 
ing over him tearfully and tenderly, " and 
tliink of it no more. You need have no 
fear." Then observing his pale cheek, and 
alarmed at his appearance of exhaustion, 
she changed her tone, and with a prompti- 
tude which spoke of strength and decision 
lying beneath her childish character, " You 
must rest now," she said, with quietness 
and cheerfulness ; " mamma will call me a 
bad nurse if she finds you tired, and never 
let me come back again. Now rest or sleep, 
I shall stay here ; but I shall not speak a 
word." She kissed his brow, and drew 
down a curtain, and closed the shutters, and 
sat by his side in silence. 

A forbidden subject brings constraint ; 
and where constraint enters, peace departs. 
It seemed by mutual consent that the sub- 
ject which had so much excited both brother 
and sister should be recurred to no more. 
To both it was painful — to both in an almost 
equal degree ; and by one, because painful, 
it was banished even from his thoughts. 
But the consciousness that this subject on 



CLARE ABBEY. 205 

which both felt strongly, was hidden in 
the minds of each, destroyed the freedom 
of even the little intercom-se which now 
was theirs. 

Pride is in some natures so dominant a 
principle, that it enters into and colours all 
their views and feelings. It was so with 
Reginald ; it touched almost all his virtues, 
and was the source of all his faults. But in 
comnioner and more versatile characters, no 
one quality holds supreme dominion, and the 
ruhng passion of one hour may be the very 
opposite of the ruler of the next. Camilla 
was proud, like Reginald ; she had a proud 
and high spirit — a proud sense of honour, 
a proud idea of ancestral glory and duty ; 
but in her variable nature it came and went, 
and, as has been seen, yielded to the tempt- 
ation of some other ruling quality. On 
Frank Hargrave's position in life she had 
never pondered ; he was so different in 
manner to the Vincents, that she had never 
associated him with them ; but rather had 
imagined that as Reginald's friend, he was 
on a perfect level with herself. Reginald's 



206 CLAEE ABBEY. 

slighting tone had roused her pride; when 
he spoke the word mesalliance^ all the blood 
of the St. Maurs had risen rebelliously in 
her veins — but the pride was evanescent — 
a reaction came ; and when it came, it came 
as reactions mil, with a fuller return to 
the feelings that had been forsaken. 

Her sentiments for Frank Harc^rave had 
from the first undergone perpetual variation ; 
her opinion had perpetually altered. She 
had 5delded to him slowly and after much 
resistance ; but in the ebb and flow of in- 
terest, her affections had been more, even 
than she was aware of, entangled, and pride 
had not sufficient power to shake her opinion 
now. 

In the flow of feeling that repentance 
brought, she, for the first time since their 
parting, allowed — that is, for the first time, 
consciously and wilfully allowed — herself to 
dream of him ; but once allowed, the tempt- 
ation returned. The future had never had 
a place in her thoughts, and now less than 
ever; for love to Reginald, and principle, 
and even pride — that word mesalliance — 



CLARE ABBEY. 207 

forebade any defined wish. But she began to 
dream of the past ; she began to beguile the 
vacancy and sadness of her lonely hours 
with pictures of past enjo}TQent — to excite 
herself ^\dth the remembrance of past ex- 
citement — uDtil at last, not invited yet not 
repelled, in waking dreams and dreaming 
wakefulness, those last low sounds, "Camilla, 
my own Camilla ! " were breathed again and 
again upon her ear 



208 CLARE ABBET. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Untouch'd by love, the maiden's breast 
Is like the snow on Rona's crest, 
So pure, so free from earthly dye. 
It seems wliilst leaning on the sky 
Part of the heaven to which 'tis nigh. 
But Passion, like the wild March rain, 
May soil the wreath with many a stain. 
We gaze, — the lovely vision 's gone; 
A torrent fills the bed of stone, 
That hurrying to destruction's shock, 
Leaps headlong from the lofty rock. 

Sir W. Scott. 

Temptations in their force and power at 
least are from mthin, not from without. 
The same temptation may pass before two 
persons precisely similarly ckcmnstanced, 
and while one enters into the battle, to con- 
quer or to be conquered, the other passes on, 
unconscious even that a temptation has been 
near. The mind must usually be weakened 
and prepared, before a temptation foreign 
to its nature assails it, and there is no pre- 



GLARE ABBEY. 209 

paration so eiFectual as the previous indul- 
gence of wandering thoughts. It seems a 
small thing to beguile a dull and lonely 
hour by the indulgence of idle dreams, by 
picturing hopes, and scenes, and joys which 
never can be realized, which perhaps we 
scarcely desire should be realized, — yet if 
the consequence of unguarded thoughts be 
considered, it gives to each one, even to the 
most trifling, an awful responsibihty. Cam- 
illa little thought of consequences, when she 
yielded her mind to the idle soothmg, the 
delusive pleasure of picturing a lost happi- 
ness — yet a consequence it had. 

Nearly three months had passed since the 
blight had fallen on Clare Abbey, — since 
the sight of continual pain and suffering had 
saddened and depressed the lives of its 
inhabitants. It was early in September, 
when Camilla one morning received the 
following letter from Miss Vincent : 

" Carrington, Sept. 6. 

" My Dearest Miss St. Maur^ — Though 
I have been afraid to trouble you T\dth in- 

VOL. II. p 



210 CLARE ABBEY. 

quiries, you must not suppose that I have 
forgotten you, or ceased to hope for the 
pleasure of seeing you again. That last 
morning when you were so sadly hurried 
from us is continually in my mind, and even 
when I have been gayest I have been unable 
to banish the remembrance. We have been 
on a round of visits, and only returned to 
Carrington last week. I have enjoyed some 
of them; and if you are not too sad to be 
amused, I have many amusing things to 
tell ; but I am glad to be at home again for 
many reasons : chiefly for the hope it. gives 
me of seeing you. Having ascertained that 
your poor brother is no worse, I venture to 
write and ask you when that hope may be 
realized. I do not like to intrude upon you 
without leave, at Clare Abbey, for I know 
that strangers are not welcome in a house 
of sorrow, but if you can be spared by your 
mother and your poor brother for an hour 
or two — (^^ Spared!'' Camilla sighed, with 
some bitterness, as she read) need I say, 
how very happy it would make mamma 
and me to see you here? Perhaps you 



CLARE ABBEY. 211 

will \\Tite and tell me what you like 
best ? I would not ask you to come to the 
midst of gaiety and amusement, knowing 
that you could not enjoy yourself while your 
brother is suffering ; but we are quite alone^ 
and unless it is pleasing to you, you shall 
not even see mamma. I hope my dearest 
Miss St.- Maur, that you Avill consent to my 
wish. I am sure you must want cheering, 
and I will do my best to cheer you. If you 
can come to-morrow or next day, you ^vill 
be sure of finding me at home, and alone, 
for I have had a bad cold, and mamma will 
not allow me to drive. If you put it off 
till next week, I must ask you to appoint a 
day, as I cannot always be sure of myself. 
Pray do not refiise my request ; and hoping 
that this will find you well, — I fear I 
must not say happy, 

" Beheve me, dear Miss St. Maur, 

" Your affectionate friend, 

" Sophia Vincent." 

Though with no sense of pleasure. Camilla 
decided on accepting the invitation. The 
p 2 



212 CLARE ABBEY. 

apatliy into which she had fallen, — the 
natural consequence of an idle and unoccu- 
pied indulgence, in sadness, — had of late 
begun to give place to fits of restless irrita- 
tion, more in keeping with her general 
character ; and though with no hope of 
amusement, and no desire to be amused, she 
caught at it as at some new thing, some new 
thought, to divert the dreariness of her 
mind. 

The carriage was now almost always at 
her disposal, for Lady Yere rarely, very 
rarely, could be persuaded to indulge in 
what once had been her favourite occupation. 
Un the second of the days, therefore, men- 
tioned by Miss Vincent, she ordered it and 
drove to Carrmgton. 

Miss Vincent received her in her own sit- 
ting-room, and with more than her usual 
kindness and affection. The sight of Ca- 
milla, so changed, — so much more changed 
than she had expected, — so pale, so joyless, 
so subdued, affected her very sincerely, and 
she exerted herself to the utmost to cheer 
her. She was not very successful ; yet 



CLAEE ABBEY* 213 

having at last caused a few smiles by some 
vivid descriptions of ridiculous scenes she 
had lately witnessed, and having elicited a 
few questions, though evidently more from 
civility than interest, regarding her late 
amusements, she ventured to introduce a 
subject of more importance. 

" Well, Miss St. Maur, I have been tellii^ 
you a great deal, but nothing, 1 am afraid, 
that can interest you very deeply. Have 
you nothing to ask me that would be more 
interesting to you ?" 

" No, thank you," Camilla said, sadly. " I 
like to hear you tell about all these funny 
people, — that is, I should like it if I could 
like anything." 

" But you don't understand me. Is there 
no particular person you would like to hear 
about. Don't you mean to inquire after 
Mr. Hargrave?" 

Camilla blushed, and shook her head. 
Yerj truly and sincerely had she deter- 
mined, and determined anew this very day, 
to have nothing farther to do with him. To 
dream of the past, to remember that he had 



214 CLARE ABBEY. 

loved her, to recall those few last hours 
when she had been so lost in happiness, — 
this was a very different thing to tliinking 
of him for the future. Reginald could not 
blame her for what was past ; or if he 
blamed, it loas past, and could not be 
recalled; but any future dream was an 
offence to his love and her duty : it 
would be ^vrong, and nothing should 
tempt her to what was wrong. So she 
had resolved, and so in her heart of hearts 
she felt. 

"Not even to inquire after him?" Miss 
Vincent said, smiling. " Oh, Miss St. Maur, 
how strange you are ! " 

"What should I ask?" Camilla rephed, a 
little impatiently, but sadly too. " All these 
things belong to the old time when I was 
happy, and there is no use in thinking of 
them now." 

" Xo use, perhaps ; but I think you are 
very ungrateful. He has not forgotten you 
so quickly." 

"When people are unhappy, they had 
much better forget : it only makes things 



CLARE ABBEY. 215 

worse. You don't know, Miss Vincent, what 
it is to be wi^etcliecl." 

"I know how much you have suffered," 
she replied, kindly and consolingly ; " but I 
don't think I agree in what you have just 
said. I don't think you mean it yourself — 
forgive me. Miss St. Maur; but I think it 
would be very heartless if you did. I think, 
too," she added, after a moment's thought, 
" that being wretched one's self should make 
one feel the more for others. There are 
different ways of being unhappy. I don't 
say that Mr. Hargrave has had such a very 
sad cause to be wretched as you have had ; 
but still he is very unliappy, and you ought 
to feel for him." 

"I am very sorry for everybody that is 
wretched," she exclaimed, with tears in her 
eyes. 

" Then you must be sorry for him. Do 
you know that he never came back to us 
after you went away ? All that long dreary 
day that we had hoped would be so happy, 
we sat at home thinking of you, and we 
hoped that he would come, and that he 



216 CLARE ABBEY. 

would talk about you ; but lie never ap- 
peared again. We could not think what 
had become of him, till after two or three 
days I received a letter from him from 
London, begging me to have your picture 
carefully packed and sent to him, which I 
did He said nothing about himself in his 
letter, and we heard no more, till about a 
fortnight afterwards his mother wrote to ask 
me if I could tell her what was the matter 
with him ; for that he was so low and so 
unlike himself, she was quite frightened. Of 
course it was no business of mine, and I 
said so." 

Miss Vincent paused, and Camilla got up 
uneasily, and walked to the window. She 
stood looking out, and made no remark on 
the narration she had just heard. 

"Do you like to walk?" Miss Vincent 
said, approaching her. " It is very fine, and 
our garden is looking in gTeat beauty." 

" I should like it very much," Camilla 
said, restlessly ; " but I thought you had got 
a cold." 

" Only a driving cold, not a walking one. 



CLARE ABBEY. 217 

I have been out already ; and as I knew vou 
liked to go out, I kept my things dowTi 
here." 

She put on her bonnet and cloak, and 
they went out together. 

Camilla sat down on a garden-seat, and 
leant her arm on a wall near w^hich it stood. 
She seemed as httle disposed for conversa- 
tion as she had been in-doors. Miss Vincent 
wandered about gathering flowers. She ap- 
proached Camilla at last with a nosegay in 
her hand. 

" I have been making you a bouquet," she 
said, laughing. " I know it is rather like 
sending coals to Newcastle ; but still, if 
one is fond of flowers, they never come 
amiss." 

" I am very much obhged to you," Camilla 
said, Avith her usual kind and courteous 
manner, as she took them. "And these 
geraniums are much prettier than ours. I 
don't thhik w^e have any like them ; or at 
least, if we have," she added, with a smile, 
" you know I like everybody's things better 
than my own." 



218 CLARE ABBEY. 

" I know you do. You are an exact con- 
trast to some people w'e have just been 
visiting, who seem absohitely incapable of 
discovering merit in anything which has not 
a match among the possessions of their 
uncles, aunts, or grandfathers. Their pro- 
pensity may be a happier one than yours, 
but it is not so agreeable for their friends." 

" I can't understand not wishing," Camilla 
said, with a sigh. " I ^^dsh I could." 

Miss Vincent came and sat down by her, 
and, after stooping to smell the bunch of 
geraniums and hehotrope which Camilla 
held, observed, " That is very sweet ; but it 
is not quite such a bouquet as you held on 
the night of Mrs. Wetherall's dance.'' 

" Oh, Miss Vincent, don't," Camilla said, 
tm^ning from her. " ^^ hy ^^'iH you go back 
to those old things?" 

" Because I want to talk to you about 
them ; I want to tell you about ^Ir. Har- 
grave. Surely, Miss St. Maur, when you 
know how he admired — may I say loved 
you then, you could not expect, surely you 
could not wish, that he should have forgotten 



CLARE ABBEY. 219 

you now. I wish to tell you — he wishes me 
to tell you how wretched he is. It can do 
you no harm to hear that, — to hear that he 
is not so heartless as to have already for- 
gotten you." 

" It might," Camilla said, and large tears 
fell from her eyes. 

" Xo, indeed, it cannot. I must speak, or 
else . . . ." She laid her hand on her arm 
and looked at her. " I know you never 
liked me to talk to you about such things ; 
you never trusted me as I would have 
trusted you. If you like it better, may he 
speak?" 

Camilla blushed, and started. " No, Miss 
Vincent. What do you mean ?" 

" I mean," she said, " that he is here to- 
day, and that you would make him very 
happy . . . ." 

But Camilla had sprung furiously from her 
seat, and, while her cheeks were crimson, 
stamped with her tiny foot upon the ground. 
" You shouldn't have done it. Miss Vincent," 
she cried, passionately ; " you shouldn't, in- 
deed : it is very, very wrong of you." 



220 CLARE ABBEY. 

" My dear Miss St. Maur," Miss Vincent 
cried, startled at Camilla's excess of dis- 
pleasure, " I am very sorry to have done 
anything you dislike. I had no idea you 
would be angry. You know I never do 
quite understand you. I thought I acted 
for the best." 

" You shouldn't have done it," Camilla 
said, still passionately, and, turning from 
Miss Vincent, she burst into tears. 

But passion is but an expression of con- 
scious weakness. The strong, the resolved, 
the firm-principled, need no passionate ef- 
forts to withstand temptation. Miss Vincent 
understood enous^h of human nature to know 
this, and, after her first surprise, was pre- 
pared to deal with the displeasure she had 
excited. 

"Will you listen to me for a moment?" 
she said, catching hold of Camilla's hand, as 
she was slowly returning to the house. " I 
really cannot let you go till I have justified 
myself. I cannot bear that you should think 
ill of me." 

" You said you were quite alone," Camilla 



CLARE ABBEY. 221 

murmured reproachfully, in broken tones. 
" I never would have come for this." 

"We were quite alone. Now do, dear 
Miss St. Maur, sit down for a moment, and 
let me explain how it happened. You need 
not be afraid. IVIr. Hargrave will not come 
near you unless you send for him. He said, 
not for the world would he attempt to see 
you without your own consent. Pray listen 
to me, it is unkind to refuse." 

Camilla sat down, but withdrawing her 
hand from Miss Vincent, leant both her arms 
upon the w^all, and hid her face. 

" I said we were alone," Miss Vincent 
began, " with perfect truth, for we were 
alone, and we are alone now ; Mr. Hargrave 
is not staying here. At the same time, I 
must confess that I knew he would wish to 
be here if you came ; in fact, for I had better 
tell you the whole truth : although I had 
wished and wished to see you again, I don't 
know that I should have dared to press you 
so much to come here, if it had not been for 
him. When I came home last week, I found 
a letter from him, sapng I really 



222 CLARE ABBEY. 

don't know what to tell you about his 
wretchedness — he seemed so unhappy, that 
I, who am not very hardhearted, was com- 
pletely overcome, and I believe I would have 
done anything to comfort liim. He said his 
only hope and wish was to see you once 
more, — that was all he asked; he said, he 
could not bear his life if he did not, and he 
appealed to my kindness to manage an inter- 
view for liim. It may not be quite right to 
do as I have done ; I really don't know ; I 
only know that when people are miserable, I 
cannot refiise to do what little may be in my 
power to comfort them. I therefore con- 
sented, and he is here. He waited here all 
yesterday afternoon, and then went back to 

B , where he is staying. He came again 

about two hours ago. If you see him, I 
think you ^^'ill excuse me. I have seen many 
people very miserable, but I never saw any 
one so miserable as he is. He does not say 
much ; I don't mean that : he never was a 
person to talk much of his feelings, but he is 
quite changed, so low and so restless, — one 
can see in a moment that he has but one 



CLARE ABBEY. 223 

thought in his head, and that not a happy 
one. And now, dear Miss St. Maur, tell me, 
am I forgiven; or at least, am I excused V^ 

" It would be so wrong, so very wrong," 
Camilla said, weeping bitterly. 

" It would be very wrong to meet him 
constantly, of course it would ; but I do not 
think there would be any harm in seeing him 
once. I asked mamma what she thought, be- 
fore I ^vrote to you, and she said she could 
not wonder at him, considering that you had 
been hurried away without giving him time 
even to wish you good bye. Indeed, my 
dear Miss St. Maur, for his OAvn sake I think 
you should consent to see him once ; not to- 
day, if you do not feel equal to it — but some 
day ; for just consider, he will go on build- 
ing his happiness upon you, dreaming of you, 
hoping at some time to meet you again, for 
this very reason, that all is so uncertain. I 
don't know what he said to you, or what you 
said to him, but if you did give him any 
hope, or if you gave him the least idea that 
you cared about him, how could he ever, how 
could he be right in endeavouring to forget 



224 CLAEE ABBEY. 

you, till you yourself release him ? This is 
only my judgment ; he said nothing about it ; 
he only asked once, just once, to see you 
again " . 

Camilla sighed deeply. 

'' My dear Miss St. Maur," Miss Vincent 
said, taking hold of her hand affectionately, 
" I am so grieved that your coming here 
should have added to your unliappiness, but 
it will not do so afterwards. Shall I tell you 
what I think? I think it would be perfect 
happiness to be loved as Mr. Hargrave loves 
you. Even though I see you so miserable, I 
envy you." 

" You need not, you need not," she cried 
passionately, " but if it must be so, let him 
come ;" and weeping as if her heart would 
break, she buried her face in her hands. 

Miss Vincent did not wait a second bid- 
ding; and a moment afterwards she had 
disappeared, and Frank Hargrave stood by 
Camilla's side. 



Half an hour afterwards, he approached 
the window of Miss Vincent's sitting-room, 



CLARE ABBEY. 225 

where she was awaiting the conclusion of the 
interview. His face was grave, troubled, not 
triumphant ; and when he spoke, his voice 
was low. 

" Mss St. ]\Iaur is in the garden," he said ; 
"she is anxious to go home. I too must leave 
you, and I do so with deep gratitude for 
what you have done for me." He shook 
hands vdth warm and earnest feeling, and 
hurried away. 

Miss Vincent hastened to meet Camilla. 
She was slowly returning towards the house. 
Her veil was pulled down, but her cheek, 
flushed mth agitation, and her eyes, swollen 
with crying, were apparent through its folds. 

She made no remark on what had passed, 
but said hurriedly that it was late, and that 
she must go home. 

Miss Vincent stood a little in awe of 
Camilla on some points, and though she 
thought it hard, that after all she had done, 
she was to remain completely in the dark, 
she felt afraid of making any inquiry. They 
walked in silence to the carriage. There 
Miss Vincent kissed her so affectionately, and 

VOL. II. Q 



226 CLARE ABBEY. 

said so earnestly that she hoped to see her 
happier, that Camilla suddenly turned to her, 
and said, with tears trembling in her eyes, 

" Don't think me very unkind and un- 
gracious, Miss Vincent ; or at least, if you 
do, forgive me, for I am very unhappy." 

She waited for no answer, but hurried 
from her, and jumped into the carriage. 

" It is all over then, I suppose," Miss 
Vincent thought, musingly, as she watched 
her driving from the yard. " Miss St. Maur is 
a strange girl; she is the only one I know 
who would have resisted Frank Hargrave, 
— resisted him while she loves him, too ; for 
that she does love him is clear. Well, 
mamma will say it is a good thing over. I 
wonder who will be his next love ;" and 
she returned thoughtfully to the house. 



CLARE ABBEY. 227 



CHAPTER X. 

She is gone from me for ever ! 
But this remains ... I can devote my life 
To serve her and protect her . . . Broken hearts 
Have service in them still. — Oh ! more than strength 
Is in the sad idolatry that haunts 
The ruinous fane of their deserted faith ! 
I can adore her, serve her, shield her, die . . . 
I pray you pardon me. . . 

Edwin the Fair. 

A WITTY speaker, in some wise essays of 
the present day, has given it as his opinion, 
that when novelists " draw a veil " over par- 
ticular scenes of their narration, it is simply 
because they find the scenes, so concealed, 
beyond the powers of their pen to draw. 
This may not always be the case, for some 
scenes are better left beneath the veil, and 
others, no pen, however gifted, can describe 
as the imagination can picture it : but no 
doubt there is much truth in the remark, and 
q2 



228 CLAEE ABBEY. 

certainly it is the truth here ; for if a veil is 
drawn over the meeting in the garden and 
some scenes that followed it, it is from in- 
ahility to describe them. I am unable to 
convey the persuasions with which Frank 
Hargrave, a master in the art, persuaded 
Camilla to listen to him — the sophistry with 
which he lulled, though he could not blind, 
her sense of right and ^vrong — the arts with 
which he drew her and entangled her, till, 
bewildered in mind, she submitted herself to 
his guidance. When I say arts, it is not 
intended to convey that Frank Hargrave was 
actuated by other motives than sincere, 
though utterly selfish, passion ; they were 
not cold-blooded, deliberate arts, but the 
arts used by a mind engrossed with one all- 
engrossing object. Refusing to take, in the 
garden at Carrington, a final farewell, he 
wrung from the reluctant and weeping 
Camilla a promise to meet him once more, 
not at Carrmgton, but in some appointed 
spot in her father's demesne ; and so on — 
and on — and on — each time Camilla more 
reluctant, but less able to resist, until her 



CLARE ABBEY. 229 

consent was gained to tliat oljject, on which, 
not from their first acquaintance, but since 
their last parting, liis mind had been deter- 
minedly set. 

Camilla had been led, but she had also 
led herself into temptation. She had en- 
tered again into the sphere of an attraction 
whose force she knew; and now it was, when 
her mind was weakened by solitude and 
sorrow, by a sense of lonehness and neglect, 
by repining and rebelhous thoughts, by the 
indulgence of idle dreams ; when her hio;h 
spirit was tamed by sadness, and the clear 
freshness of her mind was troubled and 
perturbed with depression, that a new and 
strong temptation assaulted her. From the 
path which lay before her, every feehng 
within her revolted, and yet still she entered 
upon it. The weakness of even a proud 
spirit, a lofty sense of honour, and a deter- 
mined will, in the absence of those princi- 
ples which cannot be moved, was shown 
strongly here. 

Frank Hargrave had separated himself 
from the Vincents, from a perfect con- 



230 CLARE ABBEY. 

sciousness that to anything more serious 
than a flirtation their assistance would not 
be given. !Mrs. Vincent, good-natured and 
thoughtless, and guided by her daughter, 
thought flirtations foohsh things, but notliing 
more. She was accustomed to the sight of 
them with IVIiss Vincent — accustomed to see 
them brought to very heartless conclusions; 
and yet to produce no very serious effects. 
She rarely assisted them herself, or indeed 
interfered in any way, but allowed things to 
take their course. " Young people will 
flirt ;" that was her argument and defence. 
Miss Vincent had considered the subject 
more deeply — could moralize well — could 
even, if needful, give wise counsel ; but she 
loved to be engaged in a flirtation herself ; 
and next to being engaged herself, she loved 
to be a party to the flirtations of others, 
to be confided in, to be a go-between, to 
assist in making up quarrels, in overcoming 
difficulties. But with the flirtation her 
interest ended. When matters became more 
serious, she was deaf; an elopement, even if 
better feelings did not prevail, was strongly 



CLARE ABBEY. 231 

condemned by her worldly 'sense and dis* 
cretion. 

The assistance given by the Vincents to 
Frank Hargrave's affairs, and his own mo- 
tives, may very shortly be told. 

He had been much struck with Ca- 
milla on the day of his first meeting, 
. — struck with her extreme beauty, and still 
more with the piquancy and freshness of 
her manners and conversation. He was not 
without good elements in his character, 
but he was selfish and weak principled ; 
he was also indolent, (the mother of many 
vices,) unless when stimulated by feeling, 
— and therefore he was fond, as the indolent 
often are, of the excitement that does 
stimulate to action. He was not very old, 
and hitherto his chosen excitements had 
been a series of unmeaning flirtations. He 
was acquainted slightly with the Vincents, 
and calling at Carrington, the day after his 
meeting with Camilla, he spoke in strong 
and glowing terms of his admiration for her. 
Miss Vincent laughed at him, assured him 
that he was desperately in love, and begged 



232 CLARE ABBEY. 

that if he found himself suffering from dejec- 
tion of spirits, he would let her know, and 
she would assist him to a fiu:ther acquaint- 
ance \vith Camilla. It was jestingly spoken, 
but seriously remembered by Frank Har- 
grave. Findino* his thouo^hts recurring to 
Camilla — finding some new acquaintances, 
in comparison with her, tame and spiritless, 
he wrote to Miss Vincent, reroinding her of 
her promise. The consequence was, the in- 
vitation to Camilla ; but the motive for the 
invitation was a secret in Miss Vincent's 
breast. To Mrs. Vincent, the appearance of 
Franl^ Hargrave at the sea-side seemed to be 
accidental. Thus he met her again, and 
every day her power over his fancy or affec- 
tion increased. He saw her able and willing 
to resist him, even while unconsciously con- 
fessing his influence, and her confession and 
her resistance both were added charms. He 
went on and on, still ^vithout definite thought 
or meaning, leaving it to chance, which 
often before had assisted liim, to direct him. 
Even at last it was only the excitement 
of the dance, the sight of the admira- 



CLAEE ABBEY. 233 

tion she excited, and the fascination of her 
freshness and youthfuhiess of mind, con- 
trasted with those around her, that drew 
him to a full confession of his love. 

They parted suddenly, and the words he 
spoke in parting were the only ones which 
spoke of meeting again. Up to that point 
selfish vanity had been his guide ; and well 
aware of the gulf that separated tliem, his 
thoughts had not gone beyond. But the heart, 
even such a heartless heart as Frank Har- 
grave's, will sometimes make itself heard ; 
and, separated from Camilla, his spoke loudly. 
He could not forset her, he felt he could not 
live without her ; with the thought of her, 
visions — in his ideas of happiness, visions 
entirely new — of domestic happiness began 
to dance before liis eyes ; nay, for her sake, 
he began to feel that even labour and toil 
would not be irksome. Nor did he entirely 
misjudge himself in so feeling. He was 
selfish, thoroughly selfish ; but love is the 
appointed destroyer of that master evil, and 
once truly excited, all things are possible. 
Feeling therefore thus, his thoughts turned 



234 CLARE ABBEY. 

only on tlie possibility of union with her. 
Openly lie felt it could not be, but there 
was another way. Her position, as pro- 
balDly her father's heiress, was not forgotten 
— yet to do him justice, its influence was 
small. He loved her, reluctantly loved her ; 
but still loved her, with all his selfish 
heart : selfish ! for no thought of the misery 
he must bring upon her in gratifying him- 
self, was allowed place in his mind. To 
one point his endeavours were directed, for 
one purpose all his arts of persuasion were 
used, and in that purpose he succeeded. 



One fresh, mild evening in the beginning 
of October, Ernest De Grey stood at the 
door of a cottage on the outskirts of Lord 
Vere's park, on the side opposite to and at 
some distance from the village of Cranleigh. 

" Good-bye and good-night," Ernest said, 
with a smile, to the old woman he was visit- 
ing ; " it is almost sun-set ; I had no idea 
it was so late." 

" It 's a pleasant evening, sir," the old 



CLARE ABBEY. 235 

woman remarked, accompanying him to the 
cottage-gate and, looking about her ; " and 
if I were your honour, I would go through 
tliem pleasant fields of my lord's, far before 
the dusty road." 

" They are pleasanter, certainly," Ernest 
replied, surveying some rough, heathy mea- 
dows in the less frequented parts of the 
park, well known and much prized in the 
days of his youth ; " and if I avoid them,*' 
he added, " it is only because they are apt 
to lead me into meditations which take up 
more time than I can well spare." 

"It is no bad thing, sir, to walk in the 
fields at eventide, and meditate on the 
bounties of Providence." 

"It is not, indeed," Ernest said, colour- 
ing slightly, as he felt that his meditations 
would have been of another nature. " Well, 
I think I will take your advice ; and now, 
good-night ;" and he hastened away. 

The old woman paused to look after him, 
till he was out of sight. " I remember him 
a blythe and gladsome lad," she mused, in 
silent meditation; " and we used to say, that 



236 CLARE ABBEY. 

whoever was sad, ]\Ir. Ernest's smile could 
make them merry again. But it isn't so 
now. He's as frank and as free as ever, 
and his face as bonnie, as they say in the 
north; but some clouds have dimmed his 
bright blue eye, and his smile seems touched 
with tears. Well, and how should it be 
otherAvise, with the young lord so sad, and 
the young lady too ? Ah ! there it is ; he 
loves her, I '11 be bound, and why shouldn't 
he ? " Here her silent meditations ended, 
for as if a negative had been put to her 
last question, she repeated it aloud and ^\ith 
some vehemence; and, striking her apron 
and shaking her head, repeated it agam and 
again till she disappeared. 

Ernest pursued liis way, and endeavoured 
to tm'n his thoughts in the direction pointed 
out by his unconscious monitress. Yet ever 
as he passed along, and the startled hares 
sprang beneath his feet, his thoughts, mth 
a movement as rapid, bounded back to the 
days of his youth — those days whose bright- 
ness, no sadness in the present, no dreariness 
in the future, could dim. It is not all who 



CLARE ABBEY. 237 

have this fair and fresh abode for their 
wandering fancies ; yet happy, surely happy 
are those who have it^ — for though the joys 
of childhood have not the thought and feel- 
ing which animate the joys of riper years, 
yet are they in themselves so pure and 
cloudless, that where the breath of their 
memory comes, it brmgs a fragrance that is 
always sweet. 

His wanderings led him along the top of 
a grassy bank which overlooked a kind of 
dell. Suddenly he paused. What arrested 
his attention he knew not, but he looked 
hastily about him, then started, and stood 
aghast. Not fifty yards below the spot 
where he stood, slowly pacing beneath 
some overhanging oak trees, two figm-es 
passed along. Xo voices reached his ear, 
but the attitude of one was that of intense, 
imploring supplication. One moment he 
stood horror-struck and amazed, then hur- 
ried on, his cheeks glowing with indigna- 
tion and shame. One figure, the still and 
silent one, whose bowed head concealed 
her from his view, was but too well known 



238 CLARE ABBEY. 

— ^but too dearly loved — and one moment's 
thought recognized the other also. 

That evening was the longest, the sad- 
dest, the most hateM, that Ernest had ever 
passed. The bitterness of disappointment, 
the pangs of separation, are as nothing 
when compared with the pang of such 
knowledge as he had gained that day — the 
sudden dread that one; too fondly, perhaps 
too idolatrously loved, was unworthy of the 
throne on which he had placed her. 

" Something ails his honour," was Mrs. 
Cook's remark, when, in the course of the 
evening, having tormented Ernest with some 
household questions, she returned to the 
kitchen ; " something more nor common. 
Don't tell me it 's the young lord's misfor- 
tune, for it hasn't nothing to do with it. 
Amost nights I finds him as mild and quiet 
as a lamb ; reading now and again, or 
writing, or now and again in a kind of a 
reevery ; but to-night I finds him tramping 
about on the new carpet, as if carpets grew 
on hedgerows ; and he minded no more 
that the new tea-set he set such store by 



CLARE ABBEY. 239 

was broke, than I minds a darn in my old 
stockings. It's something more nor com- 
mon, but what it is for the life of me I 
don't know." 

The trampings on the new carpet were 
not miavailing in composing Ernest's mind 
and assisting his meditations. Before he 
sought his sleepless bed his resolution was 
taken. 

It was early in the following afternoon 
when he paid his accustomed visit at Clare 
Abbey ; and so practised was he now in self- 
command, that no s}TQptoms of the fever of 
agitation, which made his heart now bound, 
now die within him, were sufficiently per- 
ceptible to attract even RegiQald's affec- 
tionate eyes. 

He remained mth him his usual time ; 
then, without fmther thought, went straight 
to the drawing-room. 

The door was partly open, and he had 
entered, and once or twice had looked 
anxiously around before he discovered Ca- 
milla. She was seated in a window at the 
furthest end unemployed, listless ; her hands 



240 CLARE ABBEY. 

clasped on lier knees, her eyes cast down- 
ward. He approached her, making many 
movements as he crossed the room to attract 
her attention, but her abstraction was so 
profound, that he stood by her side before 
she perceived him. ^Tien at last she be- 
came aware of his presence, her violent 
start and crimson blush betrayed a restless 
mind and an uneasy conscience. 

" I beg your pardon," Ernest said, in his 
anxious, tender voice, " I did not mean to 
frighten you.'* 

She smiled — but sadly and faintly ; and 
without even attempting to speak to liim, 
immediately resumed her listless attitude 
and vacant musing. 

As he gazed upon her, so sad, so pale, in 
her whole au* such an expression of humi- 
liation and sorrow — every hard thought he 
might have had, almost every feeling of con- 
demnation, passed from his mind. It was 
no happy love that was leading her astray ; 
misled she might be, weak and wandering, 
but in her heart, he could not doubt it, she 
was his ovno. piu-e and true Camilla still. 



CLAKE ABBEY. 241 

When next lie spoke, his voice was the 
voice of tenderness itself. 

"I came to you,'* he said, stooping to- 
wards her, " to ask you if you would listen 
to me for a little while ? I have something 
that I wish very much to say to you." 

She got up from her seat — her colour 
coming and going, her eyes downcast, her 
hands folded — and so stood before him, a 
picture of docile obedience. 

"Won't you sit down again?" he said, 
struggling to maintain the composm-e which 
her lowliness and sadness almost destroyed : 
" or will you sit here ? " and he drew a chair 
from the glaring window, and pushed it 
among tlie shadows of the room. 

She sat down in silence, and he stood 
leaning against the side of the window, in a 
position a little averted from her. He dared 
not stand gazing at her confusion. 

" I feel that I am doing a strange thing," 
he began, in a low and slightly tremulous 
voice. " You will think, perhaps, that I am 
speaking where I have no right, where it is 
only presumption in me to speak; but I 
VOL. II. R 



242 CLARE ABBEY. 

must ask you to think of me, not as I am 
myself, but as one wliom God himself has 
appointed to watch over your welfare. No- 
thing but the sense of this, and the most 
earnest desire for your best happiness, could 
make me dare to speak as I must speak." 

Her head sank still lower, and the blood 
slowly mounted to her temples; but she 
said nothing. 

There was a long silence — it was broken 
by Ernest's voice, almost in a whisper. " I 
saw you yesterday afternoon in the glen." 

She made no sound, gave no start, but, 
turning still further from him, hid her face, 
oppressed with shame, in her hands, while 
thick and fast, but silently, tears fell through 
her fingers. 

" Forgive me, forgive me ! " Ernest ex- 
claimed, coming towards her, and stooping 
tenderly over her. " It breaks my heart to 
grieve you thus; but indeed, indeed it is 
to save you from misery." 

" I am miserable ! " she cried, in a pas- 
sionate, broken voice. 

" I know," he said, " I know how much 



CLAKE ABBEY. 243 

you have suffered, I feel how your hfe is 
changed and blighted ; but beheve me, there 
is no sorrow like the sorrow we bring on 
ourselves, no misery like the misery of re- 
morse." 

She trembled, but said nothing. 

" You have not considered," he continued, 
in much agitation ; " you do not know — you 
are so young and innocent it is impossible 
you can know, to what this may lead." 

" But I do know," she cried, excitedly ; 
then, as if hardly conscious what she was 
doing, she looked up in Ernest's face, and 
laid her hand on his arm. " I am going — 
going this very night. It is useless to speak 
— useless to advise : I must^ must do it." 

Ernest was so shocked at her communica- 
tion, that he sat down at a little distance in 
silence. 

" I know what you must think of me," she 
exclaimed, weeping bitterly; "I know how 
you must condemn ; but do not judge me 
too harshly. You do not know what I have 
suffered ; you do not know how miserable 
I have been, and am still." 
r2 



244 CLAEE ABBEY. 

" And shall you be less miserable tomor- 
row?" he said, earnestly. 

Her colour went and came, and her heart 
beat io violently, that she pressed her hand 
upon it to still its tumult; but when she 
spoke, her voice was calm. 

" I don't know — I have not power to 
think ; but I know he loves me, and it can 
never be utterly miserable to be loved. 
And, besides," — and, though still calm, her 
voice sank almost into a wliisper, " I shall 
make one person happy, and that is some- 
thing to live for." 

" And do none love you here ? — and will 
your loss make none miserable here?" and, 
though the thought of self was far away, his 
voice trembled as he spoke. 

" None," she said, and her tears flowed 
faster, but with more softness. *' I do not 
say it to excuse myself I know, — I know 
well what I do ; but I have been so mise- 
rable, that I can bear no more. I have 
been so lonely and so desolate — the whole 
earth is so dark and so dreary — and no one 
has thought of my misery, and no one has 



CLARE ABBEY. 245 

comforted me — but one." The last words 
were after a pause, and in a whisper. 

The pangs of humiliation and self-reproach 
struck like daggers into Ernest's soul ; but 
for the moment he endeavoured to stifle 
them, and to think of her only. 

" Your brother," he said, gently and se- 
riously, " can you think of him, and speak 
thus?" 

" Reginald ! " and a cloud of inexpressible 
sadness overspread her countenance. " I am 
nothing to Reginald now. He is so calm 
and strong, he cannot bear to hear of my 
misery. He bears his pain and sorrow, I 
know, I know, like an angel, and not a 
mortal ; but / cannot, and he despises me. 
I have thought and thought, till I am 
mad. The past makes me shudder, and the 
future — there is no hope — no hope but one.'* 

She laid her arms upon the table near 
which she sat, and hid her face upon them. 
She seemed almost exhausted with feeling — 
she was calm and still. 

Ernest sat for a few minutes in deep 
thought ; then, feeling that it was no mo- 



246 CLAEE ABBEY. 

ment to shrink from speaking of himself, no 
time when an allusion to his own love could 
be condemned, he moved nearer to the 
place where she sat, and began in a low 
voice : 

" I can understand all you say ; for I have 
felt such madness of misery myself. Per- 
haps, if I had dared to approach you, you 
would have let me share your sorrow, — ^per- 
haps, if I had dared to try, I might have 
made you less wretched. I have longed — 
no words can tell you how I have longed — 
to come to you and comfort you ; but I 
dared not, and you know why I dared not." 
She made a slight movement, which, as 
movements sometimes will, said much ; it 
spoke of gratitude, and penitence, and self- 
reproach ; or at least he fancied so, and it 
encouraged him. " A short time ago," he 
went on, — " it is but a short time, though 
it seems years of life to me, — I was indulg- 
ing (I scarcely knew it then, but o^vn it 
now) in vain and idle dreams of happiness 
beyond my reach. In one moment they 
were destroyed for ever; most justly de- 



CLAKE ABBEY. 247 

stroyed, — but I did not think so then. My 
life became a burden to me, my calling 
hateful ; I looked into the future, and shud- 
dered at it ; and in my madness — I dread 
to think of it now — I rebelled against the 
will of God, and accused him of dealing 
hardly with me. And how do you think I 
was awakened from this guilty despair ? A 
blow fell on one to whom, as far as we could 
see, every gift of God most justly should 
have been given. It fell on him in the 
pride and beauty of his life, when all his 
health and vigour he would have used for 
God who gave them. In one single hour, 
every hope he had cherished, every joy he 
had pictured was torn from his grasp, and 
he was laid down amongst us to bear his 
blighted being in this life for ever. I make 
you weep," he said tenderly, as low gasping 
sobs burst from her concealed face ; " but 
should we not think of this ? — should it not 
shame us, — yes, you and me, to think of his 
suffering, his dark future, and how he has 
bowed his head, and submitted to his lot." 
He paused a moment, then left his seat, and 



248 CLAKE ABBEY. 

came close to her. " I know you love your 
brother," he said ; and he laid his hand 
gently on her hand, and stooped towards her 
with his whole soul of tenderness and com- 
passion in his countenance. 

"You know I do," she repeated, in ex- 
treme agitation ; " and you must never let 
him doubt ; you must tell him how I loved 
him when — when I cannot do it." 

" That must never be," Ernest said, very 
gravely, "while you hve. You must not, 
cannot leave him. I do not speak to you 
now of deceiving your parents, of deserting 
your home, of leaving it when sorrow is 
upon it, though these things you will most 
bitterly feel ; but I ask you if you can leave 
Azm? — can you bear to add one drop of 
misery to his cup, already so Ml ? — can you 
bear to think what his wakening to-morrow 
will be ? — ^will you ever bear hereafter, Avhen 
you are far away, to know that he is suffer- 
ing — d}dng, — and that you cannot comfort 
him, or be forgiven by him ? It might be 
thus. Oh ! think before it is too late." 

" Noj I cannot bear it ! " she exclaimed, 



CLAKE ABBEY. 249 

starting wildly from lier seat. " I tliank you, 
I tliank you ! No, never shall Reginald have 
cause to doubt that I have loved him, that I 
do love him more than all the world beside. 
But how . , . " — and her colour faded, and 
she sat down as one without strength, torn 
with varying emotions, and exhausted by 
them. " I have promised.'' 

" There are higher promises than this," 
Ernest said, seriously. 

He waited, hoping she would speak again ; 
but, though she offered no contradiction to 
his words, nor appeared inchned to retract 
her late declaration, she sat powerless and 
inactive. 

" Will you write ?" he asked, at last ; " or 
what will you do? There should be no 
delay, for both your sakes. If you would, if 
you could trust me to act for you, — you 
might trust me, — I would do all you could 
wish." 

" No, I must write," she said, and sighed 
deeply. 

He drew some writing things, and placed 
them before her ; then, feeling that solitude 



250 CLARE ABBEY. 

might speak more powerfully than words 
from hhn, he quitted her, simply saying he 
would return again when her painful task 
was accomplished. 

He entered the garden, and walked up 
and down, agitated, fearful still, and yet 
most thankful. What, had he found her 
resolute and immovable, his duty should 
have been, he could not bear to think. 
Painful, — most painful, most abhorrent it 
must have been ; and he closed his eyes 
to shut it from his view. 

He re-entered the drawing-room in about 
a quarter of an hour. She was sitting as he 
had left her, in the same attitude of pro- 
found dejection, her head resting on her 
hands. 

" Am 1 too soon?" he inquired, approach- 
ing with a pang of fear. 

She did not raise her eyes as she replied 
to him. " No, it is done — I hardly know 
how ; but it is enough — he will see .... 
Oh ! Mr. De Grey, if you see him, tell him 
not to think hardly of me." 

"He will not think hardlv — none could 



CLAKE ABBEY. 251 

do it. That, believe me, you have not to 
fear.'' 

She put the letter into his hand, still 
without looking up. 

"You had better go — it is getting late. 
Did I tell you where ? My head is bewil- 
dered — I cannot think. You must place 
it . . . ." She stopped, and sinking her 
head lower, while her very neck was dyed 
with scarlet ; " Oh ! how you must despise 
me!'' 

"I do not — I do not, indeed," he said, 
with earnestness. " Do not trouble yourself 
to speak — I will discover him, and be as- 
sured I will do all you can wish. And 
now," he continued gently, taking her passive 
hand, " God bless you, and may God com- 
fort you ; for I know you are very unhappy." 

" I am," she cried, bursting into an agony 
of tears, " and I am so weak, that I can hardly 
trust myself to think, and cannot tell if even 
now I am doing what is right. Oh ! ]\Ir. De 
Grey, if ever you pray for the weak-hearted, 
then think of me." 

"I will, I will," he said fervently, — and, 



252 CLARE ABBEY. 

with one anxious serious gaze, he hurried 

away. 

It was nearly sun-set, for the days were 

growing short, and the interview with 
Camilla had been a long one. Ernest 
directed his steps towards the dell, scarcely 
expecting to find the object of his search, 
yet anticipating little difficulty in discovering 
his movements in the course of the evening. 
On reaching it, however, one glance re- 
vealed that all search might be at an end. 
In precisely the same spot in which he had 
seen both figures the previous day, Frank 
Haxgrave stood. He was leaning against a 
tree with folded arms, and was apparently 
in deep thought. 

At the sound of a footstep on the crisp 
fallen leaves, he uttered an exclamation of 
pleasure, and turned hastily round; and 
affection, as well as joy and surprise — Ernest 
could not deny it — lighted up his counte- 
nance and smiled in his eyes. 

Ernest saw him with pain, but the fierce 
indignation which his appearance had ex- 
cited the day before, had died away. It 



CLARE ABBEY. 253 

was Ernest's nature, — a favJt in his nature, 
because any approach to that " senseless 
cant of charity," which, in pity for the 
erring, loses the perception of error, is a 
fault, — to be too lenient in his judgments 
of the errors of others. His whole heart 
and soul, indeed, revolted from Frank Har- 
grave's conduct, but still, as he had hur- 
ried along, his meditations had been these : 
if the mere love of Camilla, the hopeless 
love, had so caused him to fall from honour 
and duty, what must the temptation be to 
be loved by her ? 

There was no haughtiness, nor even 
coldness in his manner, as he approached 
to perform his unwelcome task. 

The sight of the intruder had quickly 
changed the expression of Frank Hargrave's 
countenance ; he drew back haughtily, and 
with a movement as if to bid Ernest pass 
on. 

But he still advanced, and without greet- 
ing or apology, said gravely; " I am sent to 
you, — this letter will explain wherefore." 

Frank Hargrave held out his hand, and 



254 CLAEE ABBEY. 

glanced hastily at the direction; — it was in 
trembhng, agitated, characters, and without 
further study, he guessed at the contents 
within. 

His brow grew black as night. 

A short silence followed, during which 
they stood face to face. A tumult of varying 
passions, in which mutual distrust and 
mutual dislike held no inconsiderable sway, 
was expressed on the countenance of each ; 
but a remembrance of Camilla's feelings 
towards him who stood before him, more, 
perhaps, at the moment, than any higher 
principle, gave Ernest power to subdue the 
storm that was rising afresh within him, — 
and there was compassion and regret in his 
mind as he advanced a few steps and opened 
his lips to speak. 

But at the first movement, Frank Har- 
grave recovered himself, and no conflict of 
feelings was expressed in his withering 
glance, as drawing himself up to his full 
height, he bent his head and strode 
away. 

Unwilling to annoy Camilla by further 



CLARE ABBEY. 255 

discussion, or to excite speculation by a 
second visit at an unusual hour, Ernest con- 
tented himself with writing a few lines, 
detaihng what had passed, and returned 
home. 



.256 



CLARE ABBEY, 



CHAPTER XL 

Nor deem who to that bliss aspire, 

Must win their way through blood and fire ; 

The writhings of the wounded heart 

Are fiercer than the foeman's dart. 

The Christian Year. 

Speak gently to the erring, know 

They must have toiled in vain ; 
Perchance, imkindness made them so, 

Oh ! win them back again. 

" There's a letter for you, raa'am ; little 
Harry James from the lodge brought it here 
an hour ago, and wished me to trouble you 
with it ; but I told him it could be nothing 
but a begging letter, and that he had better 
not bring begging letters up at this time of 
night. It's quite impossible," the speaker 
added, with a vehemence which implied a 
little curiosity, or else distrust of her own 
words, " that it can be anything but a beg- 
ging letter." 



CLARE ABBEY. 257 

Tliis was the communication made to 
Camilla by her maid, when she came at 
nio^ht to undress her worn and wearied mis- 
tress, 

" Give it me," Camilla said, faintly. 

The maid gave it into her trembling hand, 
and watched mth curiosity the deep blush 
that spread over her cheek and neck and 
brow, as she received it. 

" I think it's Mr. De Grey as makes the 
people beg,'' she remarked ; " they never 
used to be poor till he came here." 

" Didn't they ? " Camilla said, uncon- 
sciously, her eyes resting on the letter, 
which she did not dare to open. 

"Won't you read your letter, ma'am? I 
dare say that little troublesome boy will be 
calling for an answer before the cock crows 
in the morning." 

"If he does, tell him there is none," 
Camilla replied, rousing herself, and she 
threw, with some violence, the letter to a 
table at a distance. 

But the movement rather agitated than 
stilled her mind, and after a moment she got 

VOL. II. s 



258 CLARE ABBEY. 

up from the chair on which she had seated 
herself, and said, " That will do, Anna, never 
mind my hau-, I cannot bear your brushing 
it to-night ; my head aches. Good night, you 
may go." 

^' But I haven't unfastened your dress, 
ma'am." 

" Never mind, I can do it myself. Don't 
be tiresome," she exclaimed, with a little 
stamp of her foot, as Anna stood reluctant to 
resicrn her office ; " I never will be undressed 
again, if you stay when I don't want you." 

A slight smile passed over the hps of her 
attendant, but she was accustomed to little 
ebullitions of childish caprice in her young 
mistress, and though certainly cuj-ious as to 
the contents of the letter, and though a 
rumour had once reached her ears that the 
handsome young man from the sea-side had 
been seen in the neighbom-hood of Clare 
Abbey, she had no real suspicion ; and after 
worrying Camilla by making several un- 
necessary arrangements in the room, and 
very unnecessarily asking at what time she 



CLARE ABBEY. 259 

should call her on the followinor mornincr, 
she departed. 

The door closed, and without approaching 
the table on which the letter lay, Camilla 
sat down. Now that she was free to read 
it, she trembled to read it. Fears and terrors 
passed before her mind, dread of coming 
temptation. Once, with a sudden movement 
of resolution she laid her hand on the letter, 
and walked with it steadily to the fii^e, but 
there the bright hght shone on the well- 
known hand, and then she paused, and then 
came penitence for the hardness of her heart, 
and then, — the letter was opened and read. 

" I do not reproach you, for I have no 
right. I know what you would have sacri- 
ficed for me ; would that our lots could be 
reversed, that mine might be the sacrifice. 
I do not write to reproach, but for this only, 
before I bid you for ever, farewell, — before 
you cast from you a love that would have 
guarded and blest your existence, to say, 
think of me again. All remains as once you 
suffered it to be ; there I stand this night, 
unable to resign, unwilling to doubt you, — 
s2 



260 CLARE ABBEY. 

to the last moment of hope, faithful to you. 

Camilla, my o^vn promised Camilla, can you 

forget ? 

" Yet if one doubt is in your mind, . . . 

farewell. I would have nothing at the cost 

of your happiness. I write hurriedly. I 

have not time nor desire to attempt to move 

you ; if it must be so, farewell ; and may 

God for ever gTiard and bless you, and give 

you a love worthier than mine. 

" F. H." 

Some minds are affected by ardent and 
passionate expressions ; some — and these are 
the imaginative ones — by a style of re- 
strained feeling, — under the veil of guarded 
words their own vivid fancies picturing 
misery, love, reproach, or whatever the case 
may be, more forcibly than ever passion's 
words could speak. There was not much 
in Camilla's letter, but it spoke much to her 
mind. 

She read it without a movement or a 
sound. It caused no passion of sorrow, no 
outbreak of tears. Immoveable she read it, 
immoveable she laid it down. Her resolu- 



CLARE ABBEY. 261 

tion was taken. Come what might, she 
must away. 

Let none judge her harshly. There are 
moments of strong temptation in which 
deeds are done, which, looking backwards 
and forwards, the mind shrinks from and 
remembers with horror, — moments when the 
conscience leaves its throne, when the light 
of Heaven is darkened, when 

" The frightened, hesitating so'il 
Gives her eternal heritage of bliss 
For one triumphant crime." 

They come not to those — rarely, perhaps 
never come — who have walked unswerving 
in the li^^ht of a true conscience, turnino; 
from the suggestions of evil, as in very deed 
from the voice of a tempting fiend : but 
let crooked ways once be entered — let the 
magic circle where temptations reign be 
ventiu-ed in though but a step — and they 
may come, these moments of darkness, — 
temptations with overpowering weight, 'vvith 
resistless force — how soon none can tell. 
The first steps are ever free — there comes 
a moment, and it is an awful thought, 
when freedom is, or appears to be, lost. 



262 CLARE ABBEY. 

Such a moment was come to Camilla. A 
spell was upon her. and she had no power to 
break it. There was neither present nor 
fiiture, neither friend, father, brother, coun- 
seller in the world. One object only lured 
her on, and blinded her eyes, and there was 
nought besides. 

She sat immoveable without thought or 
feeling, till the appointed hour drew near. 
She rose then, and looked out into the night. 
The moon was shining brilliantly, and the 
dark trees and shrubs that surrounded the 
house cast their shapeless and fantastic 
shadows upon the silvery earth. It was a 
scene of beauty and yet of awe, but neither 
awe nor beauty carried an impression to her 
brain. She began hastily to prepare — no 
thouoiit in her mind — no consciousness of 
the act she was about to do — no recollection 
of all she would leave behind — no picture of 
all that lay before her. She attempted no 
explanation of her conduct, sought for no 
token of remembrance, — no last look was 
taken of the room inhabited from child- 
hood, the scene of early joy, of late sor- 
row. She was as calm, as composed, as 



CLAEE ABBEY. 263 

passionless, as if every heartstring was turned 
to stone. 

So she made herself ready — so she left 
her room — so stealthily she crept along the 
corridor, the brilliant moonbeams slanting 
in to direct her steps. So passionless 
she passed along till she reached her 
brother's door ; an involuntary movement 
there made her pause, — a tremble, a shiver- 
ing, passed over and convulsed her frame, — 
there feeling began to return, in the body 
first, and then a dull kind of feeling in her 
mind. She laid her hand upon the handle 
of the door; she must gaze on him once 
more ; she had no power to say more than 
this. 

After an instant's consideration, her hand 
was withdrawn, and she crept softly back to 
another entrance. There was an outer room 
in which the old housekeeper slept, and the 
door between the two rooms being generally 
open, she would be enabled, with less danger 
of disturbing Reginald, to accomplish her 
purpose. This outer room she entered and 
passed through it unperceived. Kurses have 



264 CLARE ABBEY. 

acute senses, even in sleep, for the one object 
that requires their care, but are proverbially 
deaf to all besides. A touch of Reginald's 
bell would at any moment have awakened 
the old woman from her deepest sleep, but 
the opening and closing of the door, and 
Camilla's footsteps on the creaking floor, 
passed unheard. 

The inner door was closed, though it was 
not shut, and Camilla paused when she 
reached it to listen. A voice fell upon her 
ear, a voice as of one in agony. She with- 
drew her hand, leant her head forward, ^\dth- 
held even her breath, to hear. The voice 
was the voice of prayer, — but such a tone, 
and such a prayer! Not the calm strong 
Reginald, soaring in spirit above the pressure 
of his hopeless fate, smiling above his pain ; 
but the voice of one weighed down with 
anguish, bowed well nigh in despair. He 
prayed, not to attain to heights of holiness, 
not for power to bless the hand that chas- 
tened him, but simply he asked for power to 
hear^ — to suffer still, and not to miurmur, to 
endure, and not to rebel,— he prayed for 



CLARE ABBEY. 265 

mercy, because even tliis submission he could 
not attain. 

Such were the sounds, in broken words, in 
gasping tones, that fell upon the startled ear 
of the sister who was forsaking* him in his 
misery. 

One moment she listened ; the next, heed- 
less of consequences, a veiled and shrouded 
figure knelt at the foot of the bed. 

"Forgive me," she cried, "forgive me; 
— oh ! Reginald, forgive." 

"Camilla! " he said, fearfully. 

" Oh ! Reginald, why was I never to 
know, why was I never to comfort you? 
Why did you cast me oiF, and make me 
think you could not feel even your own 
misery ? " 

"Camilla," he said again, in the same 
whispered, fearful tone, " what is this ? how 
came you here ? " 

She raised her head from liis bed, and 
looked at him. It was the face of one who 
had gone tlirough great tribulation — the 
bright lamp fell on liis wan cheek, on his 
knitted brow, on his hair hanging damp 



266 CLAKE ABBEY. 

and matted upon liis temples — large drops 
hung round his eyes, and tremulous move- 
ments still quivered on his lips. She gazed, 
awestruck — her OAvn misery, wliich she had 
thought insupportable, paled and grew dim 
before that " mighty agony." 

" Oh ! Reginald," she said again, and again 
hid her face upon his bed. 

But he was recovering himself. With a 
few struCTorles, he reorained liis usual com- 
posiure, and, stretching out his hand, said, 
calmly, " Come nearer, Camilla." 

"I dare not," she cried, weeping bitterly, 
" till you have forgiven me." 

" Camilla ! " he exclaimed, shuddering 
and agitatedly, " have my fears — has my 
dreadful presentiment come true?" 

" It has, it has ! " she said, bodying down 
her head with shame before him ; but the 
next moment, " no, no ; it has not — it never 
shall;" and, rising from her knees, \vith 
a kind of passionate disgust, she cast her 
bonnet and cloak upon the ground. 

" Come nearer, Camilla," her brother re- 
peated, and there was a tone of grave and 



CLARE ABBEY. 267 

calni authority in his voice which she dared 
not withstand. 

She obeyed, calmed, but trembling. 

" Xow, sit down and tell me all — all, 
Camilla : I must know all." 

And again obediently she seated herself 
by his bedside, and began her narrative. 

It was simply and truthfully told. The 
facts were stated, and the condition of mind 
that produced them, without excuses, with- 
out comment, without attempt at extenua- 
tion. Suddenly her conduct, — its long 
course of error, — stood revealed in its true 
colours ; — suddenly she saw that misery, 
however great, alters not the character of 
guilt. 

Reginald Hstened, with his eyes fixed upon 
her countenance — hstened steadily, without 
sound or movement ; but when the narra- 
tive was concluded, he turned his face away, 
and, while an expression of intense anguish 
convulsed his features, he murmured, " It 
meets me still — my pride, my pride ! You 
ask me to forgive you," he continued, after 
a short silence, again turning towards his 



268 CLARE ABBEY. 

sister. " All ! Camilla, it is you who have 
to forgive. I have been wrapt in myself, 
in my OAvn suffering ; the pride of sub- 
mission has led me astray. I would not 
that you — that any one should know, that 
/ could not bear — that I shrank from my 
body's pain, my mind's misery. I have 
been Hill of my proud self, and have had 
no room to think of you, dearest Camilla, 
and yoiu" blighted life." And softer, hum- 
bler tears than ever, from childliood up- 
wards, he had shed, strayed penitently from 
liis trembhng eyehds. 

"And do you love me, then?" she said, 
laying her head on liis pillow ; " and do you 
suffer, and ^^11 you let me comfort you? 
and will you forgive me for my madness 
and my wickedness ? and shall we be happy 
again as we used to be ? " 

He drew her towards him, and kissed her 
silently. The errors of others as well as 
our o^Yn are great teachers. The wander- 
ings of his vounor sister tauc^ht liim, with 
a flilness which notliing, perhaps, besides 
could have done, the deep root of the evil 



CLARE ABBEY. 2G9 

in his o^\Ti heart. But his own confessions 
were for silence; he spoke them not then. 

"You must go now, Camilla," he said, 
after a moment's thought, recovering all his 
self-possession ; " Watson must not find you 
and these things," glancing mth a hasty 
expression at her scattered walking dress ; 
" here — go to bed and to sleep, and to-mor- 
row we will speak of this agam." 

She got up humbly and obediently, and 
collected her things together. She read 
the thoughts in his mind, the shame she had 
caused to his lofty nature : she was humbled 
to the dust. 

" Camilla," he called, as she was slowly 
lea\dng the room. 

She approached his bed again, and stood 
with downcast eyes before him. 

He held out his hand, and while he took 
hers, looking fixedly at her, said, " Thank 
God, Camilla, before you sleep, for having 
saved you from a sorrow which would, I 
well know, have embittered your whole life. 
If you had forsaken us, I feel it, I should 
have died ! " 



270 CLABE ABBEY. 

She raised her eyes with a glance of 
penitence and sorrow, which words could 
not have spoken — which she did not dare 
to speak — then gently and noiselessly crept 
from the room. 



On the afternoon of the following day, 
Ernest sat as usual by Reginald's bedside. 
No allusion to what had passed was made 
on either side. Ernest observed, that Regi- 
nald was more than commonly silent ; that 
he listened to his reading without comment ; 
that an expression of more than usual de- 
pression was on his countenance, and he 
wondered if any confession had been made ; 
but nothing was said. 

Suddenly there was a low tap at the door, 
and Camilla slowly entered. Ernest rose 
from his seat, but something in her appear- 
ance kept him still, and he waited her 
greeting, instead of meeting her as he would 
commonly have done with his own. 

She crossed the room with hesitating 
steps and downcast eyes, but till she reached 



CLARE ABBEY. 271 

him, her pale cheek gained no tint of colour. 
She paused when she stood before him and 
held out her hand, and then the blood 
slowly and gradually mounted, till it was 
visible in the very roots of her hair, m the 
very tips of her fingers. 

" Did you pray for the weak-hearted last 
night, Mr. De Grey? " she said, in a low voice. 

" I did," he replied earnestly, gazing 
upon her drooping figure with a tenderness 
so deep, that even in his heart it seemed 
like a new sensation. 

" Then perhaps you saved me," she said, 
turning from him, and seating herself on a 
low chair by Reginald's couch, — " saved me 
from breaking Reginald's heart and my own 
also, I forgot your warning, I broke my pro- 
mise, I forgot my duty, and Reginald and 
my home — I was saved, but I am wretched, 
and guilty, and miserable." 

Her head sank on her brother's bed — her 
long golden curls, which had used to float so 
joyously in the wind, lay streaming loosely 
and dishevelled around her. Her attitude 
was the picture of dejection and humility. 



272 CLARE ABBEY. 

Urged by an impulse which he did not 
pause to consider, nor attempt to resist, 
Ernest approached her, and stooped over 
her ; and laying his hand upon her bowed 
and humbled head, slowly and reverently 
spoke that blessing, which has been appoint- 
ed for the especial consolation of the hours 
of suffering and penitence : 

" Unto GocTs gracious mercy and protec- 
tion I commit thee. The Lord bless thee and 
keep thee ; the Lord make his face to shine 
upon thee^ and be gracious to thee. The Lord 
lift up his countenance upon thee^ and give 
thee peace ^ both now and evermore.''' 

He ceased, and seated himself for an 
instant by the bedside — then rising again, 
and silently retiu-ning the affectionate pres- 
sm-e of the hand Reginald held out to him, 
he left the room. 

It is sometimes given to single actions, 
even perhaps involuntary ones, to acquire a 
force, a dignity, a meaning, far beyond their 
original intention — to become in some sort 
sacraments, sealmg a state of mmd that has 
aone before, sio-nin^ a state of mmd that is 
to follow. 



CLAEE ABBEY. 273 

This simple action of Ernest's, this simple 
assumption of authority, had something of 
this nature. If hitherto his office had not 
been respected,, if the influence of his sacred 
calUng had not been allowed as it should 
have been, the fault was his own, and not 
Camilla's. Her mind was pecuharly formed 
to reverence and respect what she felt to be 
above her — ^but Ernest, from the moment of 
their first acquaintance, had placed himself 
beneath her feet ; — he had made himself the 
slave of her caprice, had suffered himself 
to be guided by her wliims and fancies, not 
indeed to any actions incompatible mth his 
duty, yet to such a Hfe of forgetfulness, as 
made his sins of omission many in number. 
His truth, his principle, his many virtues, 
she did truly reverence from her heart ; 
but she did not feel, it was impossible that 
she could feel, that he was other than a 
being tied and bound with earthhness like 
herself. 

In the restraint which Ernest of late had 
imposed on himself — in the deepened 
seriousness and self-collectedness of liis 

VOL. II. T 



274 CLAEE ABBEY. 

manner, even in the estrangement between 
them, a new state of thincrs had been otow- 

■ Co 

ing up ; but it had grown imperceptibly, 
neither were folly conscious of it ; it needed 
some action, perhaps, to give it a definite 
form — such an action as he had then per- 
formed ; — in a moment their situations ap- 
peared to be reversed, his position to have 
righted itself — his character to have acquired 
the influence and authority which his office 
age and experience should naturally have 
given liim over a young and thoughtless girl. 
And, more than this — as Ernest walked 
alone he felt, ^ith a bound of the heart, that 
an object long striven for was attained. 
Suddenly his struggles seemed to be oyer 
— ^his conscience at rest ; he seemed to 
have gained the right to watch over her — 
the power, undoubting of his motive, to 
approach her ; to share her sorrow, to com- 
fort, to bless, to guide. Self — selfish hopes 
and fears seemed to have passed away. 



CLAEE ABBEY. 275 



CHAPTER XII. 

In easier hours it may be I had cause, 

This time or that, to wish thy boldness less : 

Though trusting still that time, which tempers all, 

Would bring thee soberer thoughts and tame thy heart. 

What time to tardy consummation brings, 

Calamity most like a frosty night. 

That ripeneth the grain, — completes at once. 

Philip Von Artevelde. 

Four months glided slowly and sadly by. 
The dreary winter passed, and gleams of 
spring began to appear. 

On one of those fine spring-like, almost 
summer-like days which occasionally as- 
tonish our minds in the month of February, 
in spite of warnings and yearly disap- 
pointments, exciting hopes that winter is at 
an end, and the joys of summer at hand, 
Ernest De Grey, animated by the softness of 
T 2 



276 CLAEE ABBEY. 

the air, set off to pay a long-delayed visit 
to a house at a distance of several miles 
from Cranleigh. 

The beauty of the day appeared to have 
drawn together a number of other visitors ; 
for on entering the drawing-room, Ernest 
was bewildered by the sight of many heads, 
and the sound of many tongues ; and find- 
ing his hostess too much engaged to need 
his attentions, he withdrew, nothing loth, 
and seated himself near a window. 

On looking about liim and attempting to 
penetrate the crowd, he perceived that ^Irs. 
and Miss Vincent were among the visitors. 
Miss Vincent looked smilingly at him, but 
having something extremely like an antipa- 
thy to her, he contented himself with a 
distant bow, and remained in his original 
station. 

IVIiss Vincent was not, however, to be 
avoided. Before long, she extricated her- 
self from a tedious proser who was pouring 
tales into her ear, and moved to a sofa near 
the window, at which Ernest had placed 
himself. 



CLARE ABBEY. 277 

"You would not come to me," she ob- 
served, with a smile, "so I must come to 
you.'' 

Ernest said nothing, which was not very 
civil ; but he had nothing to say. 

" I am so glad to have met you this morn- 
ing," she began, speaking in another tone, 
" for I know nothing of what is going on at 
Clare Abbey. It is five months at least 
since I have seen Miss St. Maiu*. How is 
she ? " 

" She is quite well in health," Ernest 
replied, " but, as you may suppose, not much 
inchned for amusement. She is almost 
always with her brother." 

" Poor thing ! How changed her Kfe is ; 
— this time last year she was like a bird, so 
joyous and animated." 

Ernest's countenance acquiesced in what 
she said ; but he made no remark. 

" And Mr. St. Mam* — what do you think 
of him? The sadness of his existence is 
a thing I hardly like to think of" 

She spoke with so much, with such real 
interest and feeling, that Ernest was ashamed 



278 CLARE ABBEY. 

of his coldness, and almost surprised out of 
his antipathy. 

" There is little change," he rephed, 
answering her as he really felt, and as one 
who desired to know ; " and indeed since 
all hope of improvement has been given up, 
the only change that can now be looked 
for must be for ... . I cannot say for the 
worse," he said, stopping himself: "even 
those who love him best could not call the 
change that awaits him so. I sometimes 
think," he added, after a moment's thought, 
" that I perceive s}TQptoms of declining — 
he seems to me weaker than he was ; but 
when one is watching very anxiously, one 
is apt to fancy ; and I do not hear that 
the physician who attends him is of that 
opinion." 

" And do you say that Miss St. Maur is 
always with him?" 

'• She is with him ver\' constantly, — and 
I think, with her own will, would never be 
absent." 

'• I wonder if she would see me. if I called 
upon her? " 



CLARE ABBEY. 279 

Ernest was silent. He did not fluicy that 
Camilla had any desire for Miss Vincent's 
society. 

" Don't you tlunk," she continued, " that 
a little change, a little diversion of mind 
might do her good? It seems to me that 
such entire seclusion must be danorerous. I 
have sometimes heard that a fixed unhappi- 
ness at so early an age, produces serious 
consequences on the mind. I could not of 
com^se do much, but at any rate my visits 
would make a change, — and I am sure I 
would do my best to cheer her." 

'^ I believe you are right," Ernest said, 
after a moment's consideration, in which the 
truth of j\Iiss Vincent's observations struck 
him very forcibly. " I don't tliink any per- 
suasions would induce Miss St. Maur to go as 
far as to Carrington ; but if you could occa- 
sionally call on her at Clare Abbey, it might 
be of great ser^-ice to her." 

" I certainly will, and very shortly." 

There was a short silence ; and when Miss 
Vincent resumed the conversation, it was in 
a different tone and on a different subject. 



280 CLAEE ABBEY. 

She was rather a curious mixture ; the 
proportions at least of sense and feehng, 
and artifice and folly, were more cmiously 
blended in her mind than is at all common. 
Ernest was completely puzzled by her. 

" I have heard a piece of news this morn- 
ing," she began, with a pecuhar smile, 
" which I confess has surprised me, and 
which I beheve vnll interest Miss St. Maur. 
You know Mr. Frank Hargrave, of com'se ? *' 

" I have seen him," Ernest said, coldly. 

" And you know, I suppose, how very, 
very desperately in love he was with jVIiss 
St. Maur when she was with us last 
summer?" 

He made a movement of aquiescence. 

" Well, I have heard this morning that he 
is going to be married." 

Ernest was on liis guard, and showed but 
httle of the extreme astonishment he felt. 

" I am surprised," she went on ; " because 
though I have had a good deal of experience 
in common flirtations, and have seen how 
very shortly the most violent ones are 
brought to an end and forgotten, I did not 



CLARE ABBEY. 281 

look on this as a common flirtation. I never 
saw a person more deeply and sincerely 
attached to another than ^Mr. Hargrave was 
to ]VIiss St. Maur." 

" His sincerity is somewhat strangely 
shown," Ernest said, with sarcasm unusual 
to him : " I should hardly have supposed 
that Miss St. Maur was a person who could 
so quickly have been forgotten." 

" I agree with you there. She is the 
most taking girl I ever met with, — so fresh 
and unsopliisticated, — Ave were all quite 
charmed with her ; and the fact is, Mr. Har- 
grave agrees with us also. I have heard," 
she continued, in a confidential tone, " from 
a friend, some chcum stances of the case; 
and my behef is that he has not forgotten 
her in the least." 

Ernest would not inquire into these cir- 
cumstances ; but his silence expressed sufii- 
cient interest to encom^age her to proceed. 

" You know^ last year, — or perhaps you 
don't know? — but last autumn, after . . . " 
she hesitated ..." after ]\li\ Hargrave and 
Miss St. Maur were separated, he disap- 



282 CLARE ABBEY. 

peared : no one could tell what had be- 
come of him. His mother was in great 
anxiety, and wrote to make inquiries of me ; 
but I knew nothing beyond the fact that he 
w^as separated from Miss St. Main:, and that 
he was heartbroken in consequence ; and this 
being his affair, I had no right to relate. It 
aftenvards appeared that he was travelhng 
about, alone ; as he is apt to do, when he is 
attacked by the fits of disgust to the world's 
ways, or his own ways," she said, laugh- 
ingly, " to which he is liable. He was heard 
of m Wales, and in Cornwall, and several 
out-of-the-way places, — in short, he com- 
pletely retired from society for two or tln-ee 
months. That, I tliinl^, was tolerable proof 
of sincerity! Well, about six weeks ago he 
sprained his ankle, — was found on the road, 
in some strange country, by a kind-hearted 
gentleman, who insisted on taking him home 
to his house. There Mr. Frank Hargrave 
became domesticated ; and there he met with 
a niece or daughter, who was also very kind 
to liim. He was, I hear, at the time in 
wretched spiiits ; but, you know, Mr. Har- 



CLARE ABBEY. 283 

grave, charming as he is, has one fault, — he 
never can resist a flirtation : so being con- 
stantly throA^ii into the society of tliis young 
lady, he began to pay her some attentions, 
— meaning no tiling, of course. It appears, 
however, that she is pretty, and well off; 
and being (as indeed most girls are to whom 
he condescends to pay attention) desperately 
in love with him, it is to end in a marriage. 
My friend tells me, — and I dare say after 
all it will prove to be the case, — that it 
promises to be a very happy one." 

Ernest made no comment ; but his coun- 
tenance expressed a good deal of the con- 
tempt and disgust he felt at her narrative. 

" You seem to doubt the happiness of the 
prospects?" she said, with a smile. 

"I confess," he said, mth emphasis, ''I 
think them more than doubtful." 

" You are mistaken. How this particular 
case may turn out, of course nothing but 
time can show ; but I have seen very happy 
marriages, under circumstances not very dis- 
similar. You know it is an old and often- 



284 CLARE ABBEY. 

repeated opinion, that wild young men make 
the best husbands." 

" It is no doubt sometimes possible," 
Ernest said, gravely ; " but it is an opinion 
which I should not have expected, — ^which I 
am sorry to hear you mention with ap- 
proval." 

" I only tell you what I have been told," 
she answered, lightly, provoked mth him 
for his gravity. " But no matter now — you 
and I had better not enter into moral dis- 
quisitions ; for I feel instmctively that our 
views would differ T\idely. I want to know 
something of more importance. Tell me 
about Miss St. Maur. ' I hardly know in 
what degree she wdll be affected by this 
marriage. That she was Yery much taken 
with Frank Hargrave I saw plainly from the 
first, and I afterwards thought it went beyond 
what that phrase imphes ; but still she re- 
sisted him : and since she had power to do 
so, I hope it may be an mterest to her, and 
no more. What is your opmion?" 

" I cannot think I have any right to spe- 



CLARE ABBEY. 285 

culate on Miss St. Maur's feelings," Ernest 
said, very coldly. 

Miss Vincent bit her lip ; and, to punish 
him, immediately observed, Avith some arch- 
ness, " And yet I should have supposed the 
speculation would have interested you ?" 

He paid no attention to her vrords, nor 
appeared to understand her insinuation. 

" I hope Mr. De Grey," she began again, 
after a short silence, " that you will not fore- 
stall my communication. I fancy I read 
indiscretion in your countenance. Now tell 
me honestly, do you mean to be beforehand 
with me?" 

" I certainly do," he said, steadily, " if I 
have an opportunity." 

" I was more unwise than I usually am to 
trust you with my news. I ought to have 
bound you over by a promise of secrecy. 
Don't you see that, to make such a piece of 
news palatable, it will require the consider- 
ation and enforcement of many alle\iating 
circumstances ? and these I can hardly hope 
you will dwell upon as they should be. I 
am afraid," she continued, less lightly, exa- 



286 CLARE ABBEY. 

mining liis countenance as she spoke, " that 
you think it will do more than interest J\Iiss 
St. Maur." 

" Miss Vincent," Ernest said, raising his 
eyes with a look of grave reproach, " if, as 
you say, you have reason to suppose Miss 
St. Maur was sincerely attached to Mr. Har- 
grave, is this a fit subject for your jesting? 
— and if circumstances have allowed me to 
form an opinion, are her feelings a subject 
on which I have a right to speak ? " 

" You make so much of it," she said, half 
playfully, half apologizing ; "I camiot look 
so very seriously on a flh-tation." 

" It does not, I hope, need very serious 
consideration," Ernest rephed, coldly ; " but 
if it does not, — if, at least, I understand you 
rightly, — it is not ]\ir. Hargrave's fault." 

" Oh he is a great flirt, and I don't mean 
to defend him ; but so are a thousand others, 
and not half such agreeable ones as he is. 
But don't look so grave, — you quite frighten 
me. I ought to have been more upon my 
guard in what I said to you ; for I could 
hardly suppose you would be an unconcerned 



CLARE ABBEY. 287 

hearer in anything that touched Miss St. 
Maur's welfare." 

" You are right," he said, quietly, rising 
from his seat as. he spoke, but not from any 
desire to escape the look of arch scrutiny 
that was fastened upon him. Miss Vmcent's 
endeavours were not rewarded by producing 
the faintest flusli of consciousness upon his 
cheek. 

When two characters very much opposed 
to each other meet on subjects where cha- 
racter is shown, they are most probable to 
go to extremes. The extreme of Ernest's 
character could not but be good ; for it 
was of that nature wliich, the more deeply 
it is penetrated, the more its intrmsic truth 
and worth is shown ; but certamly Miss 
Vincent, in her irritation at liis gTavity and 
discretion, had shown herself to httle advan- 
tage. He left her with a feehng of profound 
disgust. 

He rode through the park of Clare Abbey 
on his way to the house, and, passing under 
the terrace, saw through one of the vistas 
that Camilla was walking pensively along 



288 CLARE ABBEY. 

.the gravel walk on tlie upper part of the 
lawn. He tied his horse to a tree, patting 
it ^^'ith well-understood command to be 
patient and still, and entered the lawn at a 
small gate on the outside. 

Camilla heard his approach, and turned to 
meet him. 

*' I am so glad to see you out tliis fine 
day,*' he said, looking anxiously at her pale 
cheeks. 

" The sun shone so brightly into Regi- 
nald's room, he forced me away from him," 
she rephed, with a shght smile. 

Instead of proceeduig with her walk, she 
stood still, and Ernest soon observed the 
direction in which her eyes were turned, 
and observed interest in their gaze. 

"Are you looking at my horse?" he in- 
quired, with a smile. 

" Yes," she said, and smiled also, but 
faintly; and the smile was followed by a 
sigh, and she turned away. 

He walked by her side a httle way m 
silence, then said, " I know what you were 
thinl^ncr : vom' thousrhts had flown to the 



CLARE ABBEY. 289 

happy old times, and you felt how hard it 
was not to ^^ish them back again." 

" Yes," she said again, in a low voice, but 
.said no more. 

A great change had come over her in the 
last few months ; a stillness, the token of a 
deeper change ■\^itlIUl, had stolen over her 
fitful and animated manner. Her feelings 
and opinions, formerly so excitedly spoken, 
were now dwelt on in silence, or breathed 
only to the ears of Reginald. Serenity and 
happiness might come again : but her first 
fresh youth was past, — and, once past, comes 
no more. It was with her an early day to 
lose it ; but sorrow brings much experience, 
and error, more. 

" I suppose," Ernest said, wdth a sigh, — 
for he was not perfect in the lesson himself, 
— " I suppose it is impossible entirely and at 
all times to subdue such a vdsh^ but I do 
besdn to feel, what once I could not under- 
stand, how much of good comes out of evil. 
Wlien I see your home now, even sorrowful 
as it is, I cannot but think of tliis. If sorrow 
has come, sorrow has brought ^\dth it your 

VOL. II U 



290- CLARE ABBEY. 

father's love; and I am sure you feel that, 
even bought at such a cost, it is a precious gift." 

" Yes," Camilla said, gently ; and if the 
tones of her voice had lost their ringing 
clearness, they had a softness now unknown 
to them before. " Indeed, JMr. De Grey, I 
feel, or try to feel, the truth of what you 
say. Reginald says, that when papa sits by 
his bed, he feels that he has all earth can 
give, and would not, if he could, recall ..." 
She did not conclude her sentence, and 
walked on in silence. 

" Wliere have you been riding to?" she 
inquired, after a moment, as the course of 
their walk brought them back again to the 
sight of Ernest's patient horse. 

"I have been to call on old Mrs. Temple — 
a visit delayed longer than it should have 
been, for she was very kind to me when I 
was a child, and I ought not to forget." He 
paused, for he felt that the time was come 
when his communication must be made ; and 
though when distant he had felt that it 
should be made by none but him, he shrank 
from his self-imposed task now. 



CLARE ABBEY. 291 

" I met Miss Vincent," he began at last ; 
" she was calHng there with, her mother." 

Camilla blushed, but forced herself to say, 
" Did you talk. to her? — you don't like her, 
I know." 

" She talked a good deal to m^," he said j 
and paused. 

His voice had a pecuhar tone — it was 
meant to attract her attention, and she 
looked up ; but on meeting his anxious 
serious gaze, she turned hastily away again. 

" She told me some news which she said 
would interest you .... I fear it will — I 
fear it may give you pain .... but I came 
here to tell it." 

They had reached a garden seat at one 
end of the terrace, and Camilla sat down, 
and turned away her head to conceal her 
trembling limbs and agitated countenance. 

" It concerns one . ..." he hesitated : 
" it concerns Mr. Hargrave ; — he has proved 
himself unworthy indeed. Shall I tell you 
aU I have heard?" 

She bowed her head. 

" Miss Vincent tells me that he is going 
u2 



292 CLARE ABBEY. 

to be married : peculiar circumstances, she 
says, have led to it — you shall hear them, if 
you please, now or at some other time." 

She listened to him in silence, but not 
therefore unmoved ; — there was no expres- 
sion of pride, or disdain, or scorn, but 
through her fingers large tears fell hea\ily 
on the garden wall. 

Ernest looked at her intently; and feel- 
ings, long subdued within him, agitated his 
soul — anger, and jealousy, and unspeakable 
envy ; such tears for him^ — for Mm so un- 
worthy of her, — he felt he would have died 
to purchase one of them. 

He walked hastily to the further end of 
the terrace to control, to subdue himself; 
but intense anxiety permitted him but a short 
absence, and again he stood at her side. 

" I feared I should give you pain," he 
said, stooping tenderly over her; ''but you 
must not, indeed you must not grieve — he is 
unworthy." 

"He never loved me," she murmured, 
while he could see on her bending throat, 
the flush of shame and humiliation; "I might 



CLARE ABBEY. 293 

have given up all for him, and he never 
loved me." 

" He did love you," Ernest said, firmly 
and expressively, " tlmt you must not, should 
not doubt — I saw him, and even then, when 
I could not but condemn, I felt that he loved 
you truly, and I pitied him. But he was 
selfish in liis love; and such selfish love a 
fresh temptation may quickly overcome." 

She said nothing ; but after a moment, got 
up from her seat, and walked towards the 
house. 

Ernest went a few steps with her, then 
stopped and held out his hand. He saw 
that she was so bowed with humihation that 
any common sympathy, even the tenderest, 
was oppressive and misplaced. She gave 
him her hand without raising her eyes. 

"May I say one tiling to you, before I 
go? " he asked, as he held it. 

" Yes, anything^'' she replied, gently. 

" When you are tempted to feel sad, and 
desolate, and forsaken, will you promise me 
to think of the love and care of God, which 
has preserved you from a hfe of misery? 



294 CLAEE ABBEY. 

Surely you may, surely you should feel that 
His especial providence watched over you 
and preserved you, when man could not." 

" I wiU, I wiU try,— I do feel it." 

He pressed her hand and was going, when 
she stopped him. 

" I cannot thank you now as I should, for 
your kindness in coming to tell me this — 
but it was like you. And do not think," 
she continued, a deep blush stealing over 
her face, " that I regret what I have heard ; 
it is better, much better as it is — and if ... . 
if it humbles me the more, it is only w^hat 
I deserve." 

Never since the day of his broken vows 
had Ernest felt it so hard to compose him- 
self — ^never so tempted to pour forth before 
her words of hopeless love, and too fond 
idolatry ; — for the moment, so deceivable 
are the hearts of men, it seemed almost a 
duty to speak, it seemed as if his words 
of love could alone repair the humiliation 
another had caused her. His heart swelled 
with the conflict of his feeling. 

But a habit of \'irtue, long and dihgently 



CLAEE ABBEY. 295 

practised, comes at the call of the willing 
heart in moments of unusual temptation. 
The mist past from his eyes, and the veil of 
delusive duty dropped aside — then, with a 
deep sigh, mastering the easier temptation 
of impulse and inclination, he simply said, 
" It grieves me to hear you speak like that, 
you know it does ;" and again calmly hold- 
ing out his hand, he left her. 



296 CLAEE ABBEY. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Just at that age when the painter would have wished to fix his 
likeness, — in the fair morning of his virtues, the full spring- 
blossom of his hopes ; just at that age hath death set the seal of 
eternity upon him, and the beautiful hath been made permanent 
SouTHEY's Remains of Kirke "White. 

Months flowed on, and summer came 
again, and the anniversary of the day wliich 
had hailed so proudly the dawn of a youth- 
ful life, came and passed in silence. Months 
flowed on, months of bodily pain and mental 
misery, till they guided a yomig sufferer to 
the gates of death. 

Other eyes besides Ernest's began to 
observe the symptoms of an approaching 
end. They read it not only in the body's 
decline ; there were other signs ; — they read 
it in the eye that gleamed with no earthly 
fire — ^in the brow, from which the hues of 
pain and care, and even the expression of 
submission, had passed away — changed by 



CLARE ABBEY. 297 

the lightening of a celestial peace. They 
read it in the mind, still clear, still vigorous, 
still aspiring, — but whose aspirings were for 
that land alone, where lofty aspirations attain 
their perfect satisfaction and repose. 

" Months of bodily pain and mental 
misery." The words are hghtly said — and 
in their monotonous flow there is httle on 
which the pen can dwell, or the tongue 
expatiate — yet as they pass they instil 
lessons of highest and holiest instruction ; 
yet do they give a field for the exercise 
of the loftiest virtues — yet do they bear 
away with them a record which shall never 
be suffered to crow old. 

Tliere has often been a question, Which 
is the w^orst of mortal ills, — the pains of the 
body, or the strife of the mind? And while 
some of have given the palm of intensity to 
the first, — others, in excess of mental misery, 
have been found to declare the body's pains 
unfelt. To Reginald both were sent. The 
fitful racking violence of agony — the dull 
gnawing restlessness of continual pain — and 
a will rising rebellious agamst his fate, and 



298 CLARE ABBEY. 

a faith darkened and troubled by doubt and 
despair. 

Why he was thus afflicted, those who 
watched over him, and saw his face almost 
as the face of an angel, could not but ask ; 
and they could not at all times find an 
answer of unliesitating faith : yet an answer 
there ever is to be found. It is told that a 
suffering d^ing boy, once in extremit}^ of an- 
guish, looked up to the father who watched 
over him, and exclaimed, " Oh ! father, 
how I suffer !" and the weepmg father 
replied to him, not ^\T.th words of s}Tapathy, 
not with expressions of compassion and 
consolation, but ^vith this assurance only : 
" Not one pang too many, my boy ;" and the 
answer was sufficient. Yet in Reginald's 
case, other answers misfht be found. Gentle 
faults have gentle chastisements — faults on 
the surface can be blown away by the breath 
of a moist whistling wind — but there are 
faults, whose seat is in the spirit and the in- 
tellect, man's highest nature, and if these 
are to be burnt away, it must be by the iron 
entering even to the soul. And akin as 



CLAKE ABBEY. 299 

such faults may be to \^rtue of the highest 
kmd — though m some forms they may 
shme as angels of light — ^}^et all is a delusive 
show, for pride, even a lofty pride, is the 
reign of self, and not of God in the heart. 

It was Reginald's natural and hereditary 
evil, and it was rooted like hfe itself in his 
nature. For this it was necessary that he 
should enter into the fire — for this it was 
needful that the furnace should be heated 
with sevenfold power: but when the work 
was done, he was at peace. From the burn- 
ing fiery fiimace, the life which had pro- 
mised to shine so brightly on earth, came 
forth purified and fit for heaven; and even 
on earth the darkness passed away, and at 
eventime it was light. 

For many months all hope of improve- 
ment had been given up : and fi:*om the 
moment when hope was set aside, there had 
seemed to be nothmg left but to prepare for 
his death ; yet when the words were spoken, 
and the conviction came that he must die, it 
came a startling shock. It was shortly after 
the anniversary of his birthday, that the 



300 CLARE ABBEY. 

physician Avho attended Reginald, desired 
Ernest to prepare the afflicted family for his 
approachmg end. The powers of hfe, he 
said, were wasting fast, and he could not 
answer for many days. 

Tliis Avas in June — yet in Aug-ust he was 
living still ; and so strong is the sense of life 
in those who suffer, and in those who watch 
over suffermg, that even the sight and feel- 
ing of mortal decay failed fully to impress 
either Reginald or those about him — and 
when the long awaited hour came, it came 
suddenly to him and to all. 

Late one evening, Ernest left him clear in 
intellect, peaceful in mind, at rest in body — 
to all appearance as far from death as he 
had been for many weeks. Early in the 
morning, he was startled from his sleep by a 
hasty summons to the dying bed of the 
young lord. 

He arrived at the Abbey, and entered the 
room adjouiing Reginald's : many of the 
household were assembled there, Avith silent 
tears weeping over their young master's fate. 
The old housekeeper approached him as he 



CLARE ABBEY. 301 

stood still, and desired him to enter — he had 
been, she said, anxiously expected, and was 
not too late. 

He softly unclosed the half-shut door, and 
stood in the room and gazed around him. 
The shutters were all open, and the sun was 
shining in, flooding the room with its golden 
light — no sound was heard, no groan of pain 
or voice of lamentation — all was brightness, 
all seemed repose ; — and yet what breaking 
hearts, wdiat expiring hopes were there. 

Reginald lay mth closed eyes, his breath- 
ing soft and faint as an infant's, the expres- 
sion of his countenance unutterable tran- 
quillity. On the further side of his bed, 
leaning against his pillow, his mother 
watched over him, — all thought of self, all 
sense of being, even as it seemed all thought 
of sorrow, absorbed in the intense gaze of 
love, which rested on her son. Beside her, 
yet drawn a few paces backwards, sat Lord 
Vere, with closed eyes and folded arms. 
Months of suffering had blanched his hair, 
and softened and relaxed the stern expres- 
sion of his countenance, yet now^ the mus- 



302 CLAKE ABBEY. 

cles were rigidly drawn together, as if the 
effort of the body would vanquish the an- 
guish of the mind. At the foot of the bed, 
on the side nearest the door, Camilla half 
sat, half knelt, — her arms on the bed, her 
face concealed, — all fears a.nd terrors, and 
the dread of death, in her, too, absorbed in 
thought of him for whom the summons was 
come. 

Lord Vere raised his head on Ernest's 
entrance, and with a movement of his hand 
directed him to his son. Ernest approached 
the bed, and stooped over it, and softly pro- 
nounced Reginald's name. The dying eyes 
unclosed with a look of joy, and a smile 
played over the pale lips, then faintly murmur- 
ing, he desired to be left with Ernest alone. 



It is not in a tale like this that the scenes 
of a dying bed should be disclosed; over 
thoughts and hopes which rise to the eternal 
world, a veil in such a place should be 
drawn ; — yet some there are, which speak of 
the departing spirit's relation to earth, and 
these may be detailed. 



CLARE ABBEY. 303 

Once again profound quiet was in the 
room, the sacred services were over, the faint 
breathing was becoming fainter and more 
faint, — around the bed all sat again to see 
him die ! 

Suddenly there was a change, — on the 
threshold of existence the parting spirit 
seemed to pause, — and the Angel of Death, 
whose stroke for many hours had been at 
hand, appeared to draw backward. 

Reginald unclosed his eyes, and with full 
and clear consciousness looked around him. 
He gazed long and jixedly at the three 
beings nearest and dearest to him on earth, 
but gazed in silence, no word was spoken, — 
it was a calm and silent farewell. 

As his eyes rested on his young and sor- 
rowing sister — as he saw the unspeakable 
sadness of her gaze — as he saw her head 
bowed again, unable to bear that mute in- 
tense farewell — a faint flush passed over his 
cheek, a faint cloud disturbed the stillness 
of his brow, — but still he said nothing — gave 
no parting advice, offered no last consolation, 
his eyes wandered on, and rested on anotlier. 



304 CLAEE ABBEY. 

Beside tlie bed, leaning against his pil- 
low, his face shrouded in his hand, sat 
Ernest de Grey; in reflection so profound, 
that the change in the countenance of his 
expiring friend was unperceived by him. By 
many deathbeds he had been, and many part- 
ings he had seen, but never one that excited 
thoughts like this. He had seen the infirmi- 
ties of age, the sorrows of poverty, the help- 
lessness of childhood, pass from a world of 
trial to the hope of rest, — and he had seen 
them so pass with fearless and undoubting 
trust : but here was the light of life dark- 
ened ere yet it was fully day ; here was the 
flower of manhood cut down while its bloom 
was at its height ; here were beauty, genius, 
virtue bestowed, if earth were all, in vain ; 
running, if earth were all, to waste. He was 
shrinking, appalled at the faithless doubts 
that were sweeping over and agitating his 
soul, when he was roused by a touch on his 
arm, and tmiiing startled to the bed, he met 
the gleaming, dying eyes of Reginald. 

t' Ernest, dear Ernest," he murmured, 
" how shall I thank you for all you have done 



CLARE ABBEY. 305 

for me in life and in death ; my more tlian 
brother, how can I repay?" 

Ernest stooped over him, and pressed his 
lips on his bro.w. " Pray for me," he said, 
in a voice low and tremulous from emotion, 
" that I may live as you have lived in the 
days of prosperity, and when death comes 
may die as you will die." 

A blush passed over Reginald's pale 
cheek, — a blush, not of pride, but lowliness ; 
but he said nothing, — some other thought 
appeared to occupy and possess his mind. 

" Camilla, dearest Camilla, will you thank 
him for me?" thus was the stillness broken 
again, and the brother's earnest eyes rested 
on his sister's face. 

She raised her head and gazed at him, and 
as she gazed, a tremulous movement shook 
her in every limb, and her cheek grew pale 
as death. 

But the emotion was stilled ; and suddenly 
bending her head, she placed her hand in his. 

It was either a sign of acquiescence in his 
request, or an entke resignation of herself 
to his mil. 

VOL. II. X 



306 CLARE ABBEY. 

There was yet a pause ; Reginald's 
colour deepened, and he turned an anxious 
inquiring gaze on his father. 

Lord Vere bowed his head ; and the next 
moment the hand of Camilla was given to 
Ernest De Grey. 

He had seen the movements as one 
turned to stone ; and colder than the cold 
hand that gave, was the hand that re- 
ceived the precious gift. Was it tlien^ 
was it thus^ was it there^ that the dreams 
so madly indulged, so sinfully regretted, 
were to be realized? For a moment he 
drew back from the prospects opening 
before him, — and the small passive hand 
lay immovable in his. 

But a glance at the drooping, sorrowing 
form bending almost at his feet, brought 
higher and holier thoughts to his heart, — 
higher and holier even than humiliation, 
because less of self was there. To watch 
over her welfare, — to seek, whether fulfilled 
by him or by others, her happmess, — what 
need was there to shrink from this ? So 
rapid was the flight of thought, that none 



CLARE ABBEY. 307 

but Camilla was aware that there had been 
a moment of hesitation before the guardian- 
sliip was accepted. Silently and solemnly 
taking her hand in both of his, he pressed 
his lips upon it, — a token of the vow fer- 
vently made in his inmost heart to love 
and cherish her until death, or another's 
dearer right should part them ; — umvilling 
then to disturb her at such a time with 
thoughts of him, he restored it to her. 

The head that Regmald had slightly 
raised in his anxiety, fell back, and a glow 
of pleasure lighted his eyes ; a moment he 
lay in repose, and then it was lighted again, 
and another thought flashed over the 
serenity of his countenance, and again it 
was to Ernest he turned : 

"My day is passing like the clouds of 
evening, but it will rise again in you. Ernest, 
dear Ernest ! not in my pride, but in my 
hopes, remember me. Those hopes . . . '* 
He paused, looked upward, and raised his 
hand, — all earthly hopes and aspirings, che- 
rished and unfulfilled, seemed gathering 
before his sparkling eye ; all hopes of heaven 
x2 



308 CLARE ABBEY. 

awaiting liim, — but before they could be 
spoken, he was dead ! — yet, as more than life 
could have done, his death had wrought in 
the hearts of all who approached him, so 
more than words those bright unspoken 
thoughts would do : they fell on Ernest's 
heart a light that none could darken, — a 
star, bright and unfaihng, to guide him on 
his way. To the tumult so lately ^vitliin 
him, — to the faithless doubts, the vague 
distrust, they gave an answer full and 
clear : " The light of such a life is not ht 
in vain." 

It was " the ruling passion strong in death." 
Ernest saw the sudden change in his coun- 
tenance, — the sudden fading of his colour- 
ing. He hastily rose, and whispering to 
Camilla, drew her to his place to receive 
the last gaze — the last sigh; then kneeling 
beside the bed, began the last prayer for 
the departing spirit. 



CLARE ABBEY. 309 



CHAPTER XIV. 

I taill rejoice — I do — though mortal eye 

Must still have lookings backward; yet 'tis best 

The holiest verily are the sweetest thoughts. 

The Virgin Widow. 

The week following her brother's death 
was passed by Camilla in her room. 

Total exhaustion of body and mind laid 
her prostrate ; and lonely and dreary as 
were the sad and silent hours, that ex- 
haustion perhaps w^as not unavailing in 
stilling her first and acutest sufferings. She 
was as yet unaccustomed to self-control, — 
as yet, in great measure, ignorant how to 
seek the highest sources of consolation ; 
and though there were many such in store 
for her, they failed in those first hours in 
carrying comfort to her mind. The com- 
panion of her childhood, the friend of her 
youth, — him whom she had looked on as 



310 CLARE ABBEY. 

born to carry by storm the world's ap- 
plause, — was dead! On earth, he could 
share her thoughts, bless her eyes, draw 
upward her admiring gaze no more. She 
had pondered much on death, — she had, 
as she thought, prepared herself for the 
separation ; but now death in its reality was 
come, and not even her dreadest, most 
fearful dream had realized what that sepa- 
ration would be. She endeavoured to fol- 
low him, — to picture a meeting in another 
world ; but that world to her was distant, 
and awful, and unkno^vn ; and she fell back 
on the dreary present, not in faithlessness, 
but in ignorance and in dread. 

She left her room, for the first time, on 
the day of her brother's funeral : her 
intense desire to follow him to the grave 
overcoming the exhaustion that had para- 
lyzed her powers. There she stood with 
her father ! — and there, by that grave, she 
and Ernest met again. 

It had been Reginald's special request 
that Ernest should read the service over 
his head : and it was done ; but at a cost 



CLARE ABBEY. 311 

of suiFering, — an agony of self-command, — 
which it is scarcely good that man should 
have to exert. As he consigned " earth to 
earth, and dust, to dust," the remains of him 
whom he had loved with more than a 
brother's love, and saw drooping over the 
grave the form of her whose life and happi- 
ness were garnered in liis heart, he felt as 
if the strings of hfe itself must bm^st in his 
effort to be calm. But it was done, and 
the cost to him was blessing to others ; for 
the words of hope and consolation w^hich 
came so full from his heart were carried 
to the hearts of all who heard. 

The funeral was early in the morning; 
on the afternoon of the same day Ernest 
proceeded to the Abbey, to visit Camilla. 
It was no pain of selfish suspense wliich 
carried him to speak of love on such a 
day, — it was the desire to set for ever at 
rest those only thoughts and hopes which 
could separate and agitate them. Firm, 
fiill, and clear was the determination in his 
mind to renounce them for ever^ unless she 
loved him ; and by so for ever renouncing, 



312 CLARE ABBEY. 

to make his promise of brotherly care and 
affection avaihng. He had seen her pale 
cheek, her trembling form, her fixed gaze 
on Reginald, but he had seen no eye tm-n 
on him, — felt no willing movement in her 
passive hand. These things had been 
scarcely heeded at the time, but they spoke 
to him now. 

The feelings of liis own heart led him to 
Reginald's room ; and there, as he hoped, 
he found Camilla alone. All had been 
re-arranged, — all by her desire had been 
restored, as far as was possible, to the 
room of the old time, before the days of 
sorrow came. She was seated in the 
bow-window, her arms leaning on the 
\\dndow-sill, — in her deep momming dress, 
looking so fair, so youthful, so sad, so 
much in need of one to love and cherish 
her, that Ernest's heart fluttered at the 
thought of renouncing his dearer right, and 
the calm resolution with which he had 
armed himself began to give way to an 
aching agitating fear. 

He softly closed the door, and approached 



CLARE ABBEY. 313 

her : " I thought I should find you here," 
he said, gently ; " I hoped to find you 
here." 

She looked up with a faint smile of 
welcome, but said nothing. She seemed 
to have been weeping, for her eyes were 
heavy and sad, — ^heavy, not swollen with 
tears ; but it was over, — there was no 
agitation now, she was perfectly calm, 
strangely still. 

" I am come to speak to you," Ernest 
said, " to say a very few words. Will it 
be painful to you to listen to me to-day?" 

" I also wished to speak to you, Mr. De 
Grey," she replied. 

He gazed at her intently. Her voice was 
low, but calm, — and no blush, not the 
faintest nor the softest, flitted over her 
cheek. Hope sank in his heart — hope for 
himself; but as it sank and died, such 
thoughts of her and her happiness arose 
as made him resolute again. 

" It seems a strange place and a strange 
day," he began, with a tremulous voice, and 
tears shining in his clear eyes, " to speak 



314 CLAEE ABBEY. 

of hopes and cares of earth and earthly 
love ; but those hopes are so bound up with 
him of whom all around us is full, that 
it was here I wished to speak of them once, 
perhaps only once again." He paused, 
then more agitatedly went on : " You know 
how once I dared to address you, — vdih 
what vain hopes and presumptuous words, — 
and you know how you answered me. They 
should have been — they were, set at rest, 
and never, never should have offended you 
again, but at his bidding ; and though now 
at his bidding once again these words are 
said, — though once again I confess, that as 
I loved you then I ever have and ever 
shall love you, I do not speak as then I 
did, — the madness and selfishness that 
moved me at that hour is past. I have 
been taught — you know how we have both 
been taught — that our own selfish deskes 
are not to be the rule and guide of our 
lives. You must not fear, therefore, to 
speak to me as you feel. I do not 
say," — and his voice trembled as he said 
it, — "that you can cause me no grief; but 



CLAEE ABBEY. 315 

there are, there are indeed, other and 
higher thoughts in my mind, — and the best 
and highest, is the hope to be to you in 
place of him who has been taken from you. 
Will vou then," and he took her hand with 
grave and earnest tenderness in his, " look 
on me as a brother, and a brother only, and 
speak to me of all that is m your mind? 
If, indeed, if it be possible, that you can 
love me, as he hoped you might love, 

then but if not, do not fear to 

speak, — rather fear to be silent, for even 
his wish must not mislead us from what is 
right. Beheve me, it will be best and 

happiest " He paused, thoroughly 

to weigh the words he was about to say, 
— then seriously, even solemnly repeated 
them : " Yes, hapi^iest even for me to know 
all the truth ; — there is no happiness where 
there is not perfect trust ; and those who 
love as I do must also perfectly be loved." 

She had heard him till then in silence, 
and as if pondering intently on what he 
said; but at the last words she drew her 
hand away, and, tminng from him in ex- 



316 CLARE ABBEY. 

treme and trembling agitation, exclaimed, 
" It can never be ! Reginald, even Regi- 
nald did not know me as you know. I am 
not. — yoii know I am not what I was. I 
am ..." she paused, unable to proceed,. 

In the far distance Ernest saw his fading 
hopes and vanishing dreams, and closed his 
eyes to hide their fadhig from his sight ; 
but so pure and perfect ^was his love for her, 
— so single and intense his desire for her 
happmess, that for an instant only his eyes 
fell on himself, and it was with scarcely an 
effort that he replied to her. 

" Tlunk of it no more. You know how 
little cause I had to hope, and therefore 
.... " — the rest was not spoken, but with 
a hardly perceptible pause he hastened on. 
" Your brother's only wish Avas for your 
happiness, — and that he knew, however 
obtained, he might fearlessly intrust to me. 
Will you trust me as well? Will you 
beheve ?" — and, as he bent anxiously and 
tenderly towards her, there was not a shadow 
of a doubt of his own powers in the calm 
affection of his gaze, — " will you beheve that 



CLARE ABBEY. 317 

henceforward and for ever^ I renounce all 
such thoughts and hopes as might cause 
restramt between us, and that never by 
word or sign shall they offend you more?" 

She had once or twice endeavoured to 
interrupt Inm, and now looked up with so 
deep a blush, that a sudden hope bounded 
mto Ernest's heart. 

" Oh ! Mr. De Grey, don't say offend — 
you cannot offend ; it was not that I meant 
— it was my unwortliiness. I have not 
thought of it as I should. To you," and, 
turning from liim, she burst mto tears, " to 
my dearest brother's dearest friend I would 
have given a perfect love, and such an un- 
tainted heart as your wife should bring — ^but 
I cannot, and you know I camiot. You 
have seen all my sinfulness, all my wander- 
ings, and what can you do but despise ? " 

" Camilla," he said, softly and reproach- 
fully, the first time ever his Hps or even liis 
thoughts had been so bold, as to call her by 
that name. 

She looked up at him earnestly, anxiously. 
If his grave words, his calm manner, and 



318 CLARE ABBEY. 

the remembrance of his hesitation, causing 
her more deeply to feel her unworthiness to 
be his Avife, had made her almost doubt his 
willingness to receive her as such, — she 
could doubt no more. 

" Can you uideed trust me, as if all the 
past had never been? " 

"As I would have trusted him whom we 
have lost," he said, solemnly. "When I 
speak of perfect love, and perfect trust, do 
not think I ask an impossible thing. Why 
should we shrink from speaking of the past ? 
I know that what you have felt you do not 
feel, and perhaps never may feel again ; but 
there are better tilings — perfect confidence 
and true affection, no regret for what is 
gone, and no doubt for the future. This is 
all I would ask, Camilla, — dearest — dearer, 
far dearer than when first I dared to speak 
— is there a hope that ever thus you can 
learn to love me ? " 

She raised her streaming eyes, and stea- 
dily and unshrinkingly placed her hand in 
his ; and though no word was said, and no 
assurance given, even Ernest's jealous fears 
for her happiness were satisfied. 



CLARE ABBEY. 319 



CHAPTER XV. 

Time is Nature's faithful messenger, 

That brings up all we -ft-ish as well as all we fear. 

De Foe. 

There are often calm fair days without storm, though it be 

not clear sunshme. 

Archbishop Leighton. 

A. Oh ! Lady, would the past had never been. 
L. Not so ! there is a lesson in the past, 
That nothing else can teach us. 

" Well, Edward, and so it 's all over, I 
suppose." 

"Yes, mother, all over;" and having so 
replied, ]VIr. Hervey sat down in silence in 
the wdndow-seat of the little drawing-room. 

" Well, Edward, don't be so short about 
it," ^Irs. Hervey exclaimed, with some 
irritation, after waiting in vain for a further 
communication. 

" There is not much to tell, mother," he 



320 CLARE ABBEY. 

said ; an expression of unusual thought and 
feeling resting on his good but common- 
place countenance ; " though a good deal to 
think about." 

The usual position of the mother and son 
was for a short time reversed, and the new 
dignity of speaker sat as imeasily on Mr. 
Hervey, as the mferior position of listener 
did on liis mother. 

" Plenty to tell, Edward, if you would but 
speak. Poor, sweet thing ! I would have 
given twenty pounds to be there — but it 
was not to be. Now tell me, Edward, was 
it as private as they ^vished ? " 

" Yes, mother ; there was not a creature 
to be seen but Lord Yere and two or tlu^ee 
of the maids and servants. Mrs. Mitford 
and old Herbert came down half an hour 
before the rest, to make siu^e there was no 
crowd. But they need not have been afraid. 
^Ir. St. Mam' was too much beloved — there 's 
not a soul would have set a foot outside the 
door, if it looked like disrespect to him."' 

•' And poor Lady Yere — she couldn't 
come, of com-se. 



CLARE ABBEY. 321 

" No, mother ; as I told you, there was 
but Lord Vere. I inquired of ]\Irs. Mitford 
liow Lady Vere was to-day, and she said 
there was no change. She said as you say, 
mother, ' she never will hold up her head 
again.' " 

" Never, Edward ; that I thought from 
the first. I saw her in the carriage the 
week after Mr. St. Main* died, and I tell you 
fifty years couldn't have made such a change. 
She might have gone on young and beau- 
tifid to her dpng day, if she had not found 
her heart. But when once those simple 
creatures, — for simple she was, Edward, — 
feel a thing in their hearts, it takes all their 
life away. She may linger on a while, — but 
she never will grow on the earth again. 
Well, well, — it was a heavy trial even to 
the strong, and it is no wonder the weak 
sink under it." 

"Heavy indeed, mother," Mr. Hervey 
said, and he sighed. " Even to me the 
world is a changed place. I never was 
tired of watching that young St. Maur ; and 
proud as he once was, it made me watcli 
him the more ; and I thought I should have 

VOL. II. Y 



322 CLARE ABBEY- 

watched him till he stood as one of the 
great ones of the land. But now it 's all 
over," — and he fell into abstraction again. 

There is no mind so dull and dry — none 
even so shallow and common-place — that 
has not, in some hidden corner, a note of 
music, a fount of higher and brighter feel- 
ing. If the chord can be found, it speaks. 
Mr. Hervey's had been touched tliis day, 
and he was unlike himself 

" Come, Edward, how was it all ? " asked 
Mrs. Hervey, a Httle teazed by her son's 
pensiveness. " Miss St. Maur came down 
with her father, I suppose ? " 

" Yes, mother ; Lord Vere led her in, and 
Mr. De Grey followed, and they were not a 
moment waiting. I was glad to do it, mo- 
ther. You know how proud I felt when 
Mr. De Grey told me I should be wanted ; 
but when the time came, I should have been 
glad to have been spared. I felt it, mother, 
more than I ever felt anything before. 
That proud Lord Vere, so soft and so 
trembling ; and that young lady, who used 
to be so gay and so thoughtless, looking as 
still and as sad as a crushed flower : and 



CLARE ABBEY. 626 

the church, all fresh and bright — the work 
of his hands ; and then the servants, all 
crying, and . . . ." Mr. Hervey paused, and 
looked out of the window. 

" And was she in white, Edward, like a 
bride?" 

" Yes, mother, she could not have worn 
her mourning, you know; — just in white, 
with a veil over her head — no flowers, 
nothing grand." 

" Poor, sweet young thing ! She looked 
the very picture of Amy Mills, I '11 venture 
to say." 

" I don't know, mother," Mr. Hervey said, 
absently. 

" No, indeed, Edward, how should you ? 
for she died before I was married. But I 
can see her in her white veil, looking as 
like as could be to poor Amy Mills hi her 
shroud. There was a strange likeness be- 
tween them, there 's no doubt of that ; and 
when she looked as gay as a young bird, 
it used to come over me and make me 
tremble, for I thought death must come 
and tame her .... Well, and so it has ; 
she 's tame enough now, they say. Well, 



324 CLAKE ABBEY. 

well ! Xo doubt, it 's all for good ; all the 
ways of God are good ; but I would give a 
hundred golden guineas for one of her old 
smiles again. I used to feel them in my 
heart — they used to carry me back to my 
bright young days .... but that might have 
been because of Amy Mils." 

" Talking of likenesses, mother, do you 
observe how strangely like Mr. De Grey has 
grown of late to poor young St. Maur? " 

" Mr. De Grey and Mr. St. Maur ! " ex- 
claimed Mrs. Hervey, putting on her spec- 
tacles to examine her son. " There 's no 
more likeness between them than between 
me and Lady Vere, and that 's not much. 
You have the strangest fancies, Edward." 

This, by the way, was an extremely map- 
propriate observation of ]\Irs. Hervey's ; for 
no one ever had fewer or simpler fancies 
than her son. The very word "fancy " ex- 
pressed something far too original for his 
mind. He had plain reasons for his asser- 
tion now. 

'' I don't mean in point of feature, mother, 
— there is, of course, no change there ; but 
there used to be a kind of inspired look 



CLARE ABBEY. 325 

about Mr. St. Maur, and Mr. De Grey has it 
now. I have thought of it once or twice, 
when he has been preaching of late, and it 
struck me more particularly yesterday when 
he was talking to me of his future life ; his 
eyes seemed to shme as if there were hghts 
beliind them, and he made me feel .... I 
don't know, mother, how it is, I have always 
liked Mr. De Grey, — none could but like 
him ; but I never used to feel about him as 
I do now. I used to think of him as one of 
ourselves, — I never felt raised by his notice 
as I did mtli poor young St. Maur ; but 
there is a change now. I like liim as well ; 
but I don't feel with him as I did. It is 
more Hke young St. Maur. 

" Nay, Edward, there is no pride about 
Mr. De Grey, I am sure. He was here yes- 
terday, as kind and as tender to me as if 
I had been his own mother, because he 
thought I might take the not going to Ids 
wedding amiss." 

" Oh no, mother, no pride ; it was not 
that I meant. But it's no matter." Mr. 
Hervey might have remarked with the 
Frenchman, " Vous ne me comprenez pas. 



326 CLARE ABBEY. 

Cela 771 est egal; je me coinjjrends tres hien 
moimeme.'' 

" Well, Edward, and then they went home 
to the xibbey, I suppose?" asked Mrs. Her- 
vey, pursumg her catechism. 

" No, mother. They went from the 
church-door to the old place at Evesham. 
]\Irs. Mitford told me that it was Lord Vere's 
wish ; he thought it best for Mss St. Maur." 

"And how did she behave, poor tlmig? 
Did she bear up well ?" 

" She was Yerj quiet, mother, at first, and 
followed me in a low sweet voice ; and, 
though she looked very sad, I thought she 
seemed quite composed. But when the ser- 
vice was over, almost before she had risen 
from her knees. Lord Vere took her in his 
arms and kissed her, — and it overset her. I 
thought it ill-judged, though it affected me ; 
for she could not recover herself again. She 
was crying very bitterly when she signed her 
name, and so she was the last I saw of her, 
as Mr. De Grey put her into the carriage." 

" Poor thing ! poor young thing !" sighed 
Mrs. Hervey, shaking her head, and taking 
off her spectacles to wipe them. " I don't 



CLARE ABBEY. 327 

know how you feel, Edward, but these 
melancholy weddings don't please me. I 
hope it may all come to good." 

" It must come to good, mother : there 
is no doubt but it mil," Mr. Hervey said, 
with some vehemence. 

" Well, Edward, I hope it may ; if it was 
my own daughter, I could not wish it more. 
But old women will have fancies. She is 
but young to marry where she does not 
love ; and I never thought she cared for 
Mr. De Grey, — never. I have said so a 
hundred times. Love was another kind of 
thing when I was young. And then this 
dismal wedding, — the sound of the funeral 
bells, I may say, still ringing in our ears, — 
for it is but three months since. Well, well, 
— God grant she may be happy." 

" She must be happy, mother," Mr. Hervey 
exclaimed, and he started from his seat in 
some excitement as he spoke. "To be 
loved as he loves her must in itself be 
happiness. If you had heard liis voice to- 
day, as he held her hand at the altar, — I 
don't know what, mother, it made me feel ; 
but envy, I think, and .... and then, if 



328 CLAEE ABBEY. 

you had seen him look at her, — his eyes, 
just bright with tears, as they often are, — 
making them sliine the more, and resting 
on her so fondly and so tenderly, — it was 
like the look of a guardian angel, as if 
nothing should ever gTieve her heart while 
he was near. No, mother, it is not foolish 
young love that makes people happy, but 
love like his. I don't care for your ro- 
mantic tales." 

" Well, well, Edward," ^Irs. Hervey said, 
a httle astonished at her son's excitement, 
" you may be right, after all ; and if the 
wedding: has not been as brio'ht as wed- 
ding-days should be, I remember what I 
used to read long, long ago, '- Many a cloudy 
morning turns out a fine day.' " 



Gifted with his heart's desire — happy in 
the perfect love of one whom he so per- 
fectly had loved, — restored to the possession 
of a loved and lost inheritance, — was there 
a danger that Ernest's heart would turn 
again to build its home, and lay up its 
treasures upon the earth ? 

Dano'er there must ever be — watchfijlness 



CLARE ABBEY. 329 

must be ever needed — for in St. Augus- 
tine's words, " It needs great virtue to 
struggle ^vith happiness, and great happiness 
not to be overcome by happiness ;'' yet in 
truth his safeguards were many. There are 
lessons which the heart cannot forget — 
there are impressions which leave ineflace- 
able seals on the soul. The joy that comes 
after long trial, is like the sweetness of an 
autumnal day ; sweet indeed, yet fuller of 
memory than of promise, and bearing even 
in its brightness a voice of warning sadness, 
which makes the joy of its presence a chast- 
ened one. 

Ernest might have used — we mav use for 
him — the beautiful concluding words of 
Silisco, in the Virgin Widow : — 

Grace defend my heart ! 
That now it bound not back to what it was 
In days of old — forgetting all that since 
Has tried and tamed it. No, Rosalba, no. 
Albeit yon waves be bright as on the day 
When dancing to the shore from Procida 
They brought me a new joy. Yet fear me not ; 
The joy falls now upon a heart prepared 
By many a trouble, many a trial past. 
And striking root, shall flourish and stand fast 



VOL. II. Y 2 



330 CLARE ABBEY. 

In the twofold character, the temporal as 
well as spiritual authority, with which 
already in a degree he is invested, and ere 
long circumstances will wholly invest him — 
influence of no ordinary kind is placed in 
his hands. 

For his natural disposition the responsi- 
bility might have been too arduous, but he 
has been prepared for it now. Something 
of human imperfection may cling to him; 
failures on one side and the other be im- 
puted to liim ; now his zeal may outrun his 
prudence ; now earthly feeling cloud the 
clearness of his sight, — but these things, 
though occasionally they impede, cannot 
arrest his upward course. 

His truth, his himiility, his boundless 
charity, never fail — and where these qualities 
are taught by the "vvisdom of experience, 
guided by obedience to the declared laws of 
God, and submitted to His will, they are in 
very deed the hnks of that golden chain 
which draws many souls to Heaven. 

THE END.